Ugo Legrand had not fought in international competition since 2014 (F. Lancelot/L’Équipe)
Ugo Legrand Makes Satisfying Return to International Judo Competition
By Ak.C. | September 30, 2023 at 9:08 p.m.
Interview with Ugo Legrand
Q: “What is your feeling after this return competition, at the Prague Open (unclassified in -73 kg), nine years after your last international outing (7th at the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam in November 2014) and three months after the announcement of your return?”
A: It’s a mixed feeling, but I’m still happy with the sensations I had. The whole competition protocol, from weighing in to warm-up and re-feeding, felt familiar and comforting. The welcome I received was heartwarming, and it felt like coming back to a family after traveling.
Q: “How did you feel during your two fights?”
A: I felt pretty good and released. The first fight ended quickly with a victory due to immobilization against the young Georgian Burkadze. I tried various techniques and, on a technical level, it was encouraging, especially with my hands. However, there are still many areas for improvement, and I didn’t manage the matches as intelligently as I would have liked.
Q: “Particularly during your second fight where, wanting to attack, you were countered (on ippon o-soto gari) by the Serbian Bajsangur Bagakev, future winner of the -73 kg?”
A: That’s correct. I approached the golden score with the desire to test things, but I should have focused more on kumi-kata and the things I excel at. I feel like I rushed a bit and should have taken a more tactical approach. However, considering the instructions given by my brother, who coached me, it’s still a positive outcome. This is all part of my recovery protocol, and my goal is the French championships in November.
Q: “Next up is the European Cup in Malaga, October 14 and 15?”
A: Yes, before that, I will be attending a training camp in Spain, starting with Valencia and then participating in the Malaga tournament. After that, I will continue with another training camp in Madrid. It will be an intensive training block. The competition in Prague allowed me to familiarize myself with the refereeing rules, experience the competition atmosphere, and assess my overall performance. It felt like I never left. I was in total control of my element, and that’s reassuring.
Q: “Has the evolution of refereeing since your retirement prevented you from executing certain techniques in your judo?”
A: No, it’s more about the impacts. During my match against the Serbian, I questioned the referees about a specific situation where I executed a ko-uchi and the opponent fell on the edge. According to the referees, it wasn’t enough to score, but when I fell, I fell on my elbow, which was released. I was told that it no longer counted, but in reality, it did. So, it’s important to know the scoring criteria and to score decisively.
Published on September 30, 2023 at 9:08 p.m.
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