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Olympic Games: Onesta plan to glean more medals in Paris



For weeks, we could feel the pot boiling on the side of the high performance cell and its director Claude Onesta. Present on all fields in Tokyo, the former boss of the French multi-medal handball team, returned from Japan disappointed by the overall performance of French athletes. “We lacked perspective on the level of our athletes because the pandemic had stopped competitions around the world and disrupted training. We hoped to be at least at the level of Rio in 2016 and we are far below “, he observes.

→ ANALYSIS. Tokyo Olympics: for the Blues, the account is not so good

The Blues brought back only 33 medals, against 42 in Rio, and the extraordinary performance of team sports, such as the good results of judo and fencing, did not mask some severe accidents, in athletics and swimming. particularly. These two disciplines are particularly targeted by the plan of attack developed, Tuesday, October 5, by Claude Onesta, in the presence of the Minister of Sports, Roxana Maracineanu. They represent a major stake, giving alone more than 250 medals, that is to say nearly a quarter of the rewards distributed during an Olympiad.

Generalization of the high performance unit in federations

These federations and a few others will therefore be the subject of specific support and their management will henceforth be remote-controlled by the ministry and the performance unit headed by Claude Onesta. This violation of the rule of independence of federations is clearly supported by its supervising minister. Which is engaged in the recruitment of a new national technical director for athletics and a performance director, after the defection of the former cyclist Florian Rousseau who threw in the towel after Tokyo.

These two functions – development of mass practice and high-level supervision – today united under the hat of the national technical director, will be systematically duplicated. “This DTN function has become too broad, sometimes those who occupy these positions have never experienced a high level, so each federation must have its own high performance unit, which will work with us”, clarifies Claude Onesta.

Develop the culture of winning

For the former handball player, one of the great problems of French sport is the isolation of athletes with their personal trainer. “75% of athletes are not hosted in state centers, such as Insep and Creps (1). We must send personnel to these structures so that these technicians, often valuable, adhere to the methods allowing their athletes not only to perform well, but also to sublimate themselves on the day of the Olympic final ”, he explains.

→ OUR FILE OG 2024, the Olympic Games in France

This culture of winning, commonplace in Anglo-Saxon or Asian countries, is due to a multitude of details allowing, according to him, an athlete to be relaxed and confident when setting off. “It is not only a question of acting on the psychological level, but of progressing in all the fields, technical, physical, material, which constitute the performance. This is what I call the marginal gains theory, which allows the athlete to be sure that he is going to walk on water on D-Day, because if he does not have the assurance that everything has been done at best, it does not move forward. “

Concretely, the coaches will be better supported, including financially. “We ask guys paid 2,000 to 3,000 € to have an influence on a global competition while being available and sometimes away from home every weekend, it does not work”, he explains. Adding that many renowned French coaches, left to exercise their talents abroad for financial reasons, are being recalled.

Athletes too scattered over the territory

The geographic isolation of athletes also distances them from technical and medical resource centers. Performance houses, sort of regional correspondents for the cell headed by Claude Onesta, will therefore be set up. And the former boss of handball, used to dealing with professional athletes, also relies a lot on the goodwill of team sports clubs, used to managing their players’ problems in a few hours.

Large football and rugby clubs, such as Clermont, have been approached to provide physiotherapists, doctors, and even financial advice. “The first contacts are enthusiastic, because they are happy to help the Olympic movement. This will allow their players to socialize with other athletes and they will be able to communicate about their actions. In fact, everyone wins ”, he continues. Likewise, everyone has an interest in the France team being as efficient as possible in 2024.

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Foundation stone for the Arena-Porte de la Chapelle

Anne Hidalgo laid the first stone of the “Arena-Porte de la Chapelle” on Tuesday, October 5, the only construction in Paris ahead of the 2024 Games. The intermediate level sports infrastructure (8,000 places) must accommodate during the Games badminton and rhythmic gymnastics, then para-badminton, para-taekwondo and para-weightlifting competitions. The hall must be delivered in 2023, and outside the Games, host Paris Basketball as a resident club from September 2023. It must also host shows, concerts, conferences, and meet the needs of the inhabitants of the district with the creation of two gymnasiums.

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