The six Monegasque athletes present at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games have put in promising performances. And with three years to go until the next Olympics, all eyes are already on Paris 2024. Let’s take a look at the performances of Xiaoxin Yang, Quentin Antognelli, Claudia Verdino, Théo Druenne, Cédric Bessi and Charlotte Afriat.
Xiaoxin Yang (table tennis)
Defeated in the round of 16 by the world number 2, the Monegasque table tennis player had an excellent tournament, despite an early elimination. Facing one of the best table tennis players in the world, Xiaoxin Yang was dealt a rough hand. But the Monegasque athlete put in an impressive performance against Chinese Yingsha Sun.
“It was her first Games, so maybe she was a bit stressed at times, which is understandable,” said her coach Gang Xu. “At the Olympics, it’s the little details that make the difference. So we have to keep up the momentum and work not only technically but also mentally. This will allow Xiaoxin to move up in the world rankings, to be better “protected” and as a seeded player to have a more favourable draw instead of facing the world number 2 in the round of 16“.
Quentin Antognelli (rowing)
By finishing in a remarkable 15th place and reaching the Final C, the best performance ever achieved by the Monegasque rower, the skiffer from the Principality proved that he was one of the spearheads of this delegation.
“Finishing 15th is a really great result. Our objective has been reached and even exceeded, as we didn’t really think we would get such a ranking,” said coach Daniel Fauché. “Quentin has managed to have some very good races. We feel that he has undoubtedly taken a step forward. His Final C is without doubt the best race he has done since I’ve known him. It’s quite exceptional to be able to do that on the day, in an Olympic competition“.
Claudia Verdino and Théo Druenne (Swimming)
The two Monegasque swimmers had mixed fortunes in Tokyo. Disqualified because of video refereeing, Claudia Verdino (100 m breaststroke) had her Olympic dreams dashed by a refereeing decision. As for Théo Druenne (1500 m freestyle), he put in a tremendous performance by beating his personal best.
“Claudia and Théo were concentrated and motivated at all times,” admitted their coach, Michel Pou. “Strengthened by these Games and this experience, these swimmers must now know how to look ahead to the future and set themselves objectives to reach in terms of will and performance, by structuring everything. We will be there to support them as best we can“.
Cédric Bessi (judo)
Eliminated by the Mongolian Tsogtbaatar Tsend-Ochir, eventual bronze medallist in the category (-73 kg), during his second bout, Cédric Bessi has no reason to be ashamed of his tournament. In the first round, thanks to a perfectly executed ippon, the Monegasque judoka started his competition with a bang by tripping Lucas Diallo (Burkina Faso).
“These Games were an important step for Cedric Bessi. We often talk about how stress can be inhibiting or exhilarating. Cédric managed to flourish, gaining confidence in himself,” claimed his coach, Marcel Pietri. His victory by ippon in his first bout was the perfect start. In the second round, he only failed to win with 40 seconds to go, putting up a real fight against the eventual bronze medallist, showing great determination on the tatami. This shows that he is capable and it also reveals a positive state of mind“.
Charlotte Afriat (Athletics)
Euphoric at the idea of competing in her very first Olympic Games, the young Monegasque sprinter (18 years old) clocked an excellent time in Tokyo (12’35), within her personal best (12’27), to finish her 100m series in fifth place.
“Charlotte has proved herself”, smiled her coach Frédéric Choquard. “She had already shown that she was capable of managing high-level competitions with a lot of pressure. At 18, not everyone can do that. It is a pleasure to coach her and to be at her side, she is always smiling and dynamic. She will move up to the the U23 category next year, with international events. The objective is to try to go under the 12” mark in the medium term“.