Our special correspondent at the Accor Arena
Madeleine, seeing your huge smile, we imagine that winning this bronze medal had a particular value today...Madeleine Malonga: It was very important today and I am super proud of myself for having reached the end of this daytime. It's certain that my initial objective was to win gold but it's sport, in a competition you can miss out on a fight but the main thing is to succeed in leaving with a medal. It's done.
We felt you were filled with an unusual rage when you stepped onto the mat...It came from my deep desire to win. It has already been a long road until today, with a lot of work and questioning. It was important for me, beyond the medal and the stakes of an Olympic qualification, to be myself, to enjoy the day, to bring down and win. This match for 3rd place, I want to say that it was for myself. I struggled so much during this Olympics with ups and downs. But today, I knew I had my cards to play. As long as I don't have regrets, that's the main thing and now I don't have any, it's so cool (laughs).
You have no regrets about your defeat in the quarter-finals against the Italian Alice Bellandi…Yes, obviously. I haven't watched the fight yet but even if it wasn't the expected result, I still felt better and opened up.
What has changed since your failure at the last European Championships (elimination in the 1st round)? Nothing, since after the Europeans, I did not want to let myself be defeated. I never lower my head. It was hard to return to training, it's true, but there was no moment when I said to myself that it was over. There was a hard blow with the announcement of the selection. I saw all the girls who were selected and not me. It hurt a little but I knew I still had my cards to play. So in reality, nothing has changed since Europe. There, I got through it and today was much better.
For the Olympic selection, you directly faced your competitor Audrey Tcheuméo. Can you tell us about this match? It was a Franco-French fight. We know each other very well, it's never easy in the game. It was up to the one who would be the most determined, who would be a little less nervous because we knew what was at stake. I'm happy that it was me who won, and that's all I remember.
In the end, she refused to shake your hand...Yes. It's not serious. I know that competition is not easy. Each person manages it as best they can. There is also a question of ego. Audrey was a great champion. By putting myself in his place, I can understand that it is not easy to manage that a girl can, like me who was a bit like his little one, pass him by. It's ego, she manages it as best she can and it doesn't matter. Today I won, tomorrow it might be her but what matters is that there is respect.
Do you think that this bronze medal will be decisive for Olympic qualification? I hope so in any case (smile). But if I have to put it back on, I'll put it back on. This gave me positive energy for the future, as well as confidence. And there, I'm going to wait for the fallout from all this and then I'll see.