After 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019? At the end of March, Karateka Anne-Laure Florentin will be looking for her fourth consecutive European title in the Euro played in Spain. A competition that will take place in a particular context since karate was recaled in late February, the program of the Olympic Games in Paris 2024. A big slap for a discipline that will enter the Games in Tokyo in 2020 … But karatekas do not do not totally disarm, as explained by the member of AS Evry.
Preparing a European championship – from March 28th to 31st – after the recent club blow inflicted by Paris 2024, which has ousted you from the Olympic program, is it not a little demotivating?
Anne-Laure Florentin Before thinking of Paris 2024, personally, my goal is the 2020 Tokyo Games … But, yes, it's true that for our sport, it's actually a huge club-shot, a huge disappointment also because the karate waited for years to enter the program of the Olympic Games. And when we finally enter as an additional sport for Tokyo 2020, we are then removed from the list of sports admitted to the Paris 2024 program. It is also a blow because karate has done everything to change its rules and be much more affordable for people who do not know the discipline. So, it's a bad move, not only for me, but also for all the graduates of the French Karate Federation, who were looking forward to it.
You understand the reasons for your eviction, for the benefit of breakdance among others?
Anne-Laure Florentin I am not in the spirit of a comparison with the other disciplines, because every sport is fighting to integrate the Olympic program and that is normal …
But that the marketing and the will of "Jeunisme" of the International Olympic Committee (CIO) and the organizers of Paris 2024 have scratched you of the card, you take it in which way?
Anne-Laure Florentin It is a decision that actually exceeds us … But the reasons that were presented to us are not valid because karate is also very inserted in the neighborhoods. We, too, have many young people among our licensees, our sport is also very urban and is growing more and more, with today 256 000 licensees. So the decision of Paris 2024 is indeed difficult to understand.
Do you believe in it anyway, since the final decision will only be taken later?
Anne-Laure Florentin We try to believe it … We have a tiny chance to turn the tide, as long as the final decision has not been validated. So the World Federation and the French Karate Federation must continue to fight and make their case. So, yes, we believe it … A little.
In short, you have to go back to the fight, especially as you prepare the European Championships in Spain at the end of the month?
Anne-Laure Florentin Yes, it is true that I am engaged in a marathon until February 2020 in order to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. The goal in Spain, in Guadalajara, at the European Championships, will not only be to win my fourth European title, but also to improve my international ranking to be of the trip to the Games in Japan. Today, I'm eighth in the world and only the top four in each category – more than 68 kg for me – go to the Games. So until 2020, it will be a little Fear Factor, the obstacle course!