terça-feira, agosto 05, 2008

Towering "Teddy bear" to shoulder French hopes

Towering "Teddy bear" to shoulder French hopes
Tue Aug 5, 2008 8:16am EDT

Riner's win in Rio gave France their first heavyweight world title since David Douillet's triumph 10 years earlier, but following in the footsteps of the double Olympic champion has meant a struggle to deal with fame and pressure.
It also saw an unpleasant experience during the protest-marred Paris leg of the Olympic torch relay earlier this year. A Chinese security official extinguished the flame just as Douillet was set to pass it onto Riner.
While Beijing's Olympic preparations have stoked controversy, Riner's have proved far more low-key.
He elected not to defend his European title in Lisbon in April and has concentrated on building his already imposing figure.
The Frenchman may face vanquished foes Tmenov and Gujejiani in the August 9-15 tournament, but the title bout could well turn out to be a clash of youth, with Japan's 21-year-old national champion, Satoshi Ishii, quietly emerging as a threat.
Riner, however, despite looming over 1.80 meter-tall Ishii and a raft of opponents in the over-100 kg class, is keeping his feet firmly on the ground.
"Physically, I still need to work, to push my limits even further ... I know I can win but I also know I can lose in the first round," he said.
(Editing by Alex Richardson)

FONTE: Reuters - USA

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