Lequipe – Inside the Games
L’Esprit du Judo
Newly-appointed head coach Christophe Gagliano insists the French Judo Federation must “dare to change habits” to transform the men’s team’s fortunes ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
Gagliano was the 1996 Olympic bronze medallist in Atlanta and very successful coach of the men’s team. In 1997 he was World Championships finallist and he won four European medals. Gagliano won the European title with the French team and he claimed several international tournaments in Rome, Den Bosch and Basel. At the Tournoi the Paris he won seven medals, but didn’t take a gold medal. In his time he fought with top athletes such as Kenzo Nakamura and Jimmy Pedro.
Speaking to French newspaper L’Équipe, Gagliano revealed his intention to launch a review of the FFJ’s entire performance model after the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Gagliano’s appointment as the head of men’s judo team comes after Larbi Benboudaoud was named high performance director for the FFJ.
France has a rich history in the sport, with only Japan winning more medals at the Olympics and World Championships.
But while France’s female judokas have notched 13 medals in the past two World Championships, the men have registered just two, with Alex Clerget landing both.
Gagliano, a bronze medallist at Atlanta 1996, has now been brought in to replace Franck Chambily, who is expected to focus on training double Olympic champion Teddy Riner.
“I feel impatience and excitement to get involved in this project,” Gagliano told L’Équipe.
“There is going to be a lot to reconsider and improve, but I see it as something exciting, rather than pressurised.”
With just six months to go until Tokyo 2020 is scheduled to get underway, Gagliano said he was looking to “stabilise the situation” but hinted at a possible shake-up within the FFJ ahead Paris 2024.