France signs a wonderful European Championship with eight medals

December 5, 2022

The French fencing team, ranked 7th in the nations (out of 17 countries currently), had a satisfactory European Championship last week in Warsaw. All that was missing was gold to give a little more comfort to this great collective performance in Poland. Unfortunately, most of the young people were not able to give their full size and were pressured. On the other hand, the mood and collective dynamics were good. Alain Febvre, sports director of the French Handisport Federation, said England (6 medals, including 6 gold) dominated this Euro, ahead of Ukraine (12 medals, including 3 gold) and Hungary (9). medals, including 3 names).

How do you classify this balance sheet?
Alain Febvre: With Sébastien Barrois and the staff, we see this as a positive because we have a young team of eleven shooters participating in the European Championship for the first time. The last euro was in 2017 and we won two silver medals and as many bronze medals. We have doubled the number of medals this year, so this is a very satisfying result. Besides, if we are seventh in number of titleswe was fifth in medals.

What are your main satisfactions?
AF: The first satisfaction is Damien Tokatlian’s foil bronze medal in the A category. It has been a long time since France has been on the podium in this weapon and in this category. Then there is the confirmation that Johan Peter made it to the epee final despite a hand injury. Like in the last stages, we didn’t know if he would be able to score. He could not go beyond this final due to this injury.

It is not far from our goal

On the other hand, no gold medal?
AF: Yes. I was a little disappointed because I had set myself the goal of eight medals, three finals and a title. We won eight podiums, reached two finals, but did not win the title. A big step up from the semi-final to the final. There is a real delta to go from the third step of the podium to the first two steps. But with this new formula that preserves six to eight seeds, chicken-free, we’re on our way, though we’re disappointed not to hear from the Marseillaise.

What does this formula change?
AF: Attacks from the table of 16 (final 8) can be difficult. This adds pressure to those competing in the qualifying pools, as the slightest mistake can find themself facing a top seed as soon as they exit the pool. That’s what happened with Ludovic (Lemoine) on Saturday. He lost only one game in the pool, but inherited the No. 1 seed in the first round. Before, when everyone was drawing pool, there was a bit more confusion among the top seeds in the pool who could be surprised. The new formula is more difficult.

What do your shooters lack to reach the finals?
AF: It is very mental. We are starting from afar, we were not even on the podium in the world championship. We have lost the habit of winning. When they reach the semi-finals, the athletes feel that the job is over. They feel free to reach that medal goal, and then they don’t know how to find the resources they need to win silver or gold. However, they are physically, tactically and technically ready. Psychologically, they cannot tell themselves that bronze is not enough. I think that these European championships, considering the number of medals collected, will allow us to move forward in this direction and stimulate egos. We conveyed the message to all the shooters on the podiums. They must train to win just as they train every day to perform.

“We get the best”

How do you view international challenges?
AF: With 6 gold medals, England confirms its dominance over Europe. It can count on four star athletes, including two who won five medals. The European continent is very dense. There were not many new shooters, as most of the powerful nations had fielded experienced but fairly young athletes who confirmed their level. As for us, we have shown that we are holding.

How did the young Tricolors behave?
AF: Most of them put pressure on themselves after it was clearly explained to them that they were there to learn. We expected the best from them, but not necessarily great results. But they put so much pressure on themselves that they missed the European Championship. This is part of learning. They are used to playing back-to-back World Cup circuits every two months, so if they miss one, they have an opportunity to catch up quickly. The European Championship is held only every two years. They were all eager to succeed, but failed to do what was expected of them: study, enjoy performing well, and achieve a good result for them.

They were under pressure if they could get rid of Clémence Delavopière, Quentin Fernandez and Enzo Giorgi, who performed well at the junior world championships. However, Quentin had made good young worlds. Luca Platania and Clémence, who are two-armed unlike all the other youngsters, are the two who put the least pressure on themselves. They knew they had two chances and I think it worked.

How did the arrangement between the youngest and most experienced of the French clan fare in their first major championship together?
AF: We have been working on this issue for several months. After the Tokyo Games, we integrated young people into the big team. They are now an integral part of this group. It went very very well. More experienced shooters accompanied beginners very well. They shared their knowledge. For example, Robert Citerne, chosen for his results as well as his experience, filled this role perfectly. Charlotte was replaced by Gaetan as he felt pain in his shoulder during the individual competition by the epee team. But Robert remained very attached to the team during race day. He gave his advice.

“Being confident”

What are the deadlines now?
AF: We have to prepare for the world championship, which is planned to be held in Italy in September 2023. Like this European Championship, they will be of particular importance in the selection process for the Paris 2024 Games. Before that, we will have to rest a little, because our athletes have chained the World Cup in Eger (Hungary) and this Euro. However, there will be a short break as they have to prepare for the World Championship to be held in Washington (USA) on January 14.

And business lines?
AF: I will continue to work on development, working on territories and finding new shooters. Japan experiences will come in February and March in regions and departments, so we should still manage to offer fencing in sport 1 or discovery. As we are in the middle of the selection process for the 2024 Games, it is important to prepare well for the various upcoming events at the French team level. gives points for gaining confidence. Today, they have real technical knowledge, but they still do not have enough confidence in themselves and their qualities.

Writing: J. Sawyer

French medals

Johan Peter (cat. B) sword
Maxime Valet (Cat. B) foil

Briana Vide (Cat A) Sword
Cecile Demaude (Cat B) sword
Damien Tokatlian (Cat. A) foil
Laurent Vadon (Cat B) foil
Maxim Valet (Cat. B) sword
Men’s epee team (Johan Peter, Adrien Turkawka, Lucas Platania, Gaëtan Charlot).
Men’s foil team (Lemoine, Platania, Tokatlian, Valet), 4th
Women’s epee team (Delavopière, Demaude, Sablon, Vidé), 4th

The squad of the French team
Team leaders: Sebastien Barrois, Alain Febvre
Sword coach: Herve Giorgi, Serge Prudhomme
Foil coach: Jean-Loup Boulanger, Guillaume Dubreuil
Saber coach: Fabio Giovanni
Physical trainer: Maxime Marie
Physiotherapist: Damien Travesset
Videographer: Dominique Declaud
Armorer: Serge Larher
High Performance Manager: Norbert Krantz

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