Two-time Olympic champion Clarisse Agbegnenou, who made her international comeback today at the Grand Slam in Tel Aviv, refuses to wear the kimono imposed on her by the Federation. In retaliation, the Federation decided to deprive her of a coach and to freeze her financial aid.
It is without a coach on the chair and therefore without advice that Clarisse Agbégnénou returned to international competition, this Friday in Tel Aviv, Israel. The “consequence” of a conflict between the judoka and the French judo federation. Clarisse Agbégnénou having chosen to wear the kimono of her supplier (Mizuno) and not that of the French team (Adidas), the federation decided to… cut her off and deprive her of coaching. Sébastien Mansois, the national technical director (DTN), had sent an email to the technical staff. “As national coaches, you cannot “coach” athletes if they are wearing an outfit that is not officially recognised or validated by the French Judo Federation”, wrote the state executive.
A warning addressed to all but which targets Ludovic Delacotte, Clarisse Agbégnénou’s coach, forced to follow the orders of his hierarchy.
Earlier in the day, the double Olympic champion had also received an email, sent by the DTN. “We would like to remind you that the French team’s combat gear, provided by the coaching staff, is compulsory for the Tel Aviv Grand Slam, as it is for all the competitions in which you are involved as a member of the French team (…) We have no doubt that you will respect these rules, but we would prefer to remind you that in the event of a breach, it would be inconceivable for the Federation to maintain its commitments as set out in the agreement, including the support of your individual project. In short, the DTN explained to the champion that she would no longer receive personalised aid, which is paid by the Federation and which comes largely from the National Sports Agency, and therefore from the State.
Teddy Riner also wears his own brand of kimono
How did this come about? A few months ago, while Clarisse Agbégnénou signed a kimono contract with Mizuno, the French Judo Federation was negotiating with the equipment manufacturer Adidas to supply the entire French team… Except for Teddy Riner, who was excluded from the negotiations. As early as 2017, the three-time Olympic champion and his lawyer at the time, Delphine Verheyden, had obtained (after a hard struggle) the possibility of having his own kimono supplier, considering in particular that it could be a technical equipment (in this case the athlete wears what he wants, such as spiked shoes in athletics).
At the time, Riner had just signed with Under Armour and the American firm did not manufacture kimonos at the time, so an agreement had been reached for the champion to wear a kimono. A new development in 2021: since the Tokyo Olympics, Riner has been wearing the Fight Art outfit, the brand he launched.
Clarisse Agbégnénou wanted to do the same, in the name of fairness. Exchanges with the French Judo Federation quickly escalated to the point of becoming explosive in Tel Aviv. The Federation, fearing the loss of its equipment supplier, insisted that Clarisse Agbégnénou wear the same kimono as the other members of the French team and considered that the judoka was not entitled to negotiate with her own equipment supplier.
The two-time Olympic champion wants to obtain the same agreement as Riner. Her entourage specifies that the French Federation “never provided her with a kimono” and that “the fittings only took place last Monday, in a hurry”. Moreover, the name of a sponsor (Allianz) of the champion is missing from the national kimono.
Coaches are now forbidden to express themselves on the subject.
Read the full French article here!
RIP Louis Casamassa
My good friend Louis Casamassa founder of Red Dragon Karate in 1965, died last week. Lou was legend in the world of martial arts. He started training in Japan in 1958 at the Kodokan where he got his first black
belt. He also received his black belt in Karate in Japan, under Mas Nagano.
In the US Marine he became the Captain of their Judo and Karate teams. Lou learned a lot about respect
and discipline, which he expressed in his later job as a Police Officer in Bethlehem, PA.
Red Dragon Karate became one the most successful marital arts schools chains which help inspire Cobra Kai in the Karate Kid. His son Chris Casamassa who played Scorpion in Mortal Combat continues to run the company. For several years, my son Nathan taught judo at a couple of their locations.
Comment on my Falling Blog of 2/16/23
Here is a film I made at our club three years ago. We were the first
club in Sweden giving courses on falling for seniors.
Lone Star Classic Results
When you come from a sport that is rich in diversity, it is easy to overlook symbolic occurrences that exists within. My friend Bobby Donaldson was the Chief Referee at the 32nd Annual Lone Star Classic held in Fort Worth, Texas on February 18th last month.
Is this significant?
Depends upon whom is asked; “this was the very first time a black person was chief referee at a National Test and Evaluation Site in the United States, during Black History Month no less!”
Judo is so diverse that often historical aspects are lost due to the myriad of examples to emulate. Bobby is the 2nd African American whose received his full International IJF Referee license, the first to Referee on the IJF World Tour and many other distinctions that are uniquely his own.
Bobby, who retired from the U.S. Navy, is no stranger to diversity. “The military is filled with representatives from every race, so much so, you see people as your shipmates first. Kano saw judo as having this same sort of fellowship. We have nearly every race in judo, that is a beautiful example of harmony” to further quote Bobby.
The Lone Star Classic was a big success. Congratulations to Tournament Director Kim Mesa of Okuri Judo.
Ukraine’s Banksy stamps feature art of Putin in judo match
March – 2023
5th Sunday – Taishi’s 13th Anniversary Tournament, Cerritos, CA
18th Saturday & 19th Sunday – Youth National Championships, Lubbock, TX
25th Saturday – Shoshinkan’s Annual Kosen Tournament, Las Vegas, NV
26th Sunday – Shoshinkan’s Shintaro Higashi Clinic, Las Vegas, NV
April – 2023
1st Saturday & 2nd Sunday – High School & Collegiate Nationals, San Jose, CA
2nd Sunday – Mojica Tournament (16 & Under), Baldwin Park, CA
15th Saturday – Couchigian Memorial Tournament, Las Vegas, NV
16th Sunday – Ryoku’s Amarilis Savon Clinic, Las Vegas, NV
16th Sunday – Garden State Open Judo Classic, Wayne NJ
22nd Saturday – Arizona State Championships, Tucson, AZ
29th Saturday & 30th Sunday – Golden State Open, Azusa, CA
May – 2023
7th Sunday – CJI State Championships, San Francisco, CA
18th Thursday to 21st Sunday – Budo Nord Cup & Lugi Camp, Lund Sweden
20th Saturday & 21st Sunday – Senior National Championships, Spokane, WA
June – 2023
4th Sunday – Nanka Spring Tournament, Westminster, CA
16th Friday to 18th Sunday – USA Judo Junior Olympics, Shreveport, LA
24th Saturday – Sensei Gary’s Birthday Scrimmage, Claremont, CA
25th Sunday – U.S. Adaptive Judo Championships, Riverside, CA
July – 2023
7th Friday to 9th Sunday – USJF & USJA Summer Nationals, New York, NY
16th Sunday – CA State Games, San Diego, CA
August – 2023
6th Sunday – Nikkei Games Budo Tournament, Cypress, CA
September – 2023
17th Sunday – Nevada State Judo Championship, Las Vegas, NV
24th Sunday – Nanka Fall Tournament, Westminster, CA
October – 2023
1st Sunday – Capitol Open Judo Championships, Sacramento, CA
22nd Sunday – Fresno Invitational Tournament, Fresno, CA
29th Sunday – Fight for a Cure Women’s Tournament & Clinic, Riverside, CA
November – 2023
1st Wednesday to 3rd Friday – IJF World Veterans Championships, Abu Dhabi, UAE
5th Sunday – Nanka Team Tournament, Westminster, CA
19th Sunday – Presidents Cup National Championships, Irving, TX
December – 2023
8th Friday to 10th Sunday – Nanka Winter Nationals & Clinics, Azusa, CA
April – 2024
7th Sunday – Nanka Spring Tournament, Westminster, CA
May – 2024
5th Sunday – Nanka West Coast Invitational, Westminster, CA
June – 2024
28th Friday to 30th Sunday – USJF & USJA Summer Nationals, Tacoma. WA
September – 2024
29th Sunday – Nanka Fall Tournament, Westminster, CA
October – 2024
20th Sunday – Nanka Team Tournament, Westminster, CA
December – 2024
6th Friday to 8th Sunday – Nanka Winter Nationals & Clinics, Azusa, CA
I’m always looking for new subjects to write about regarding judo as well as contributions from my readers. Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org, thanks.
Judo blog, Judoka, Traditional martial arts, Judo
Black Belt Magazine
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