Like French judo, which has become accustomed to counting on its leaders Teddy Riner and Clarisse Agbegnenou to obtain results, the tricolor parajudo has been resting, for a little while, on the performance of its double world champion, Sandrine Martinet, to glean medals. Adorned with silver at the Paralympic Games in Athens (2004) and Beijing (2008), then gold in Rio (2016), the Montreuilloise has somewhat concealed the weakness of the Blue (s). From August 27 in Tokyo, for the 2021 edition of the Games, it is once again on her that the French delegation will count.
At 39, Sandrine Martinet is however preparing to take up a challenge: to win a title again, but in a lower weight category, that of – 48 kg (- 52 kg in Rio). Not enough to scare the champion, who has led many other fights. Because the story of Sandrine Martinet is that of an achievement at the highest level, the dented journey of a visually impaired child, who knew how to transform ” the rancor “ and “Injustice” into positive energy.
Practice from 9 years old, in the footsteps of his brothers
Since her birth, she has suffered from achromatopsia, which plunges her into a “Gray gradient” and makes him fear the light. As a child, she is forced to close her eyes or wear tinted glasses during the day, which attracts taunts: “Open your eyes, the night is over”, “Stop pretending to be a star with your sunglasses on”… Notes and a nickname – ” the mole ” – which isolate it and generate a lot of frustration.
To channel her energy, break with loneliness and prove things to herself, Sandrine Martinet pushes the door of a dojo at the age of 9, in the footsteps of her brothers. Seduced by “The values of respect, politeness, self-control” from judo, she regains confidence and overcomes her handicap in a combat sport accessible to visually impaired people. “Just grab the judogi [tenue du judoka] et we do judo like any other judoka ”, emphasizes the athlete.
Until she turned 20, Sandrine Martinet trained with the able-bodied. In competition, she made it a point of honor, at each beginning of the fight, not to practice the installed guard (imposed for people with a handicap – one hand on the sleeve, the other on the back of the opponent), “To prevent athletes who were not prepared to have a bad image of [son] handicap “. Fight like the others, therefore, even if it means leaving with a disadvantage. “I beat myself up to take back the guard”, she recalls.
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