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JO: Pogacar, Murray, Boukli… 5 reasons to get up tonight

After the opening ceremony, the first day of competition for the Tokyo Olympics will take place overnight from Friday to Saturday. With some events not to be missed.

Handball: France-Argentina (4h00)

Win back a crown. Dispossessed of all these goods in recent years, the France team no longer reigns on the planet handball as in the glorious days of Experts. The last three of them – Nikola Karabatic, Luc Abalo and captain Michaël Guigou – could also experience their last Olympic dance in Tokyo. Which will begin with an Argentinian tango which assimilates strongly to a potential trap. But while big pieces like Spain, Germany and Norway will then await them, it is essential for the Blues to start with a victory this Saturday.

Judo: Shirine Boukli and Luka Mkheidze (from 4h00)

Cradle of judo, Japan should, despite its general disinterest in the Olympic event, keep eyes of Chimene for everything that takes place in the mythical temple of Nikkon Budokan. And France could well turn out to be the number 1 enemy of Japanese ambitions, especially among women. First to enter the competition in less than 48kg, Shirine Boukli will try to confirm her formidable rise for a year with a first Olympic medal. In men, Luka Mkheidze’s mission promises to be very complicated, despite his status as European vice-champion gleaned last April.

Road cycling, men’s road race (4 hours).

Less than a week after the parade in yellow on the Champs-Élysées, Tadej Pogacar will be competing in an ambitious Slovenian team (notably with Primoz Roglic). The demanding route (234 km; 4,800 m of elevation in the Mount Fuji region) and the heat could do damage. There is no shortage of contenders: Van Aert, Evenepoel (Belgium), Carapaz (Ecuador), Mollema (Netherlands), Yates (Great Britain) or Nibali (Italy). And the French have solid assets (even in the absence of Julian Alaphilippe and Romain Bardet) with riders coming out of the Grande Boucle and in particular Guillaume Martin (8e), David Gaudu or Benoît Cosnefroy. Thomas Voeckler, the national coach, sums up “ There is very stiff competition. The goal? I will not speak of classification but of having no regrets. There will be three lucky people, we hope to be part of it …

Tennis, men’s doubles (6h)

Andy Murray is well on the starting line of the Olympics. Double gold medalist (in London in 2012 and Rio de Janeiro in 2016), the Briton will start with the double with Joe Salisbury. In front of them the tricolor pair composed of Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hughes Herbert, reassured after a thigh injury at Wimbledon. Eliminated five years ago in Rio de Janeiro, the revenge duo (winner of 5 Grand Slam tournaments, including Roland Garros this year) represents one of the best chances of French tennis in Tokyo.

Shooting, women’s 10m rifle (3h45)

Océane Muller (European champion) will discover the Olympics. At 18 years old. And nothing seems able to disturb the Alsatian. “ I am always serene. It always has been. Whatever the competition, I am calm, relaxed. It’s going to be very tight. The objective is to qualify for the final, after if I can, aim for the podium. »In London, in 2012, shooting (Céline Goberville, silver medalist in the 10m pistol) offered France its first medal. The challenge of Océane Muller, the youngest of the French shooting team.


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