What if Maxime-Gaël Ngayap Hambou had just won, in addition to the bronze medal at the Paris Grand Slam, the Olympic jackpot? While the selection for Paris 2024 has not yet been made official in his under 90kg category, the young 22-year-old judoka hit hard this Sunday by climbing onto the podium.
Dominated in the semi-final by the Azeri Eljan Hajiyev, Maxime-Gaël Ngayap Hambou was able to remobilize to outclass the Tajik Komronshokh Ustopiriyon, 19th in the world, on whom he first inflicted a waza-ari, before completing his work of 'a magnificent ippon. This brings the French medal total to eight for this 2024 edition of the Paris Grand Slam.
This bronze medal, coupled with the failures of Axel Clerget in the 2nd round and Alexis Mathieu in the round of 16, could well make the difference in the eyes of the selection committee, which should however wait for the Grand Slam in Baku, in two weeks , before deciding. Or not, the selection path could be extended further.