Of Team ENGIE’s thirteen athletes, six competed in the Olympic Games (23 July to 8 August) and three competed in the Paralympic Games (24 August to 5 September) which both took place in Tokyo.
Why has ENGIE been supporting them for several years now as part of the Performance Pact? These athletes were not just selected because of their sports potential, but also because they serve as ambassadors for ENGIE in their respective regions.
Our aim in supporting them is to give them more peace of mind with their preparations, and to provide them with all the energy they need to qualify for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. And perhaps even… win a medal!
“What spurred me on every time and motivated me to continue to fight was also the journey I have been on and the family that I had to leave in Georgia… It is also for them that I am fighting”
Luka Mkheidze qualified during the competition and was the first Team ENGIE athlete in the running in this year's Games, taking to the mats the day after the opening ceremony.
As the day began, Luka kicked off with a fine victory brimming with clever moves against the Spaniard Francisco Garrigos – who had snatched victory away from him in the European Championship finals in April. He then had little difficulty despatching the Ukrainian Artem Lesiuk in the following round. In the semi-finals, he unfortunately lost to the Taiwanese Yung Wei Yang in an extremely tiring fight that went into “golden score” overtime. Exhausted but still mentally strong thanks to the iron will that he had developed as a child, Luka was able to marshal his strengths again only half an hour later and secure a victory against Korean Kim Won-Jin, snatching third place.
Luka arrived in France in 2010 having fled the war in Georgia and won the nation's hearts by winning the French Olympic team's first medal. Congratulations Luka!
“I'm disappointed, but maybe with hindsight I’ll realise that it's a fine achievement. I so wanted to win. It represents many long years of work,” she said after the women's finals.
Madeleine Malonga, Team ENGIE’s judoka, had to make do with a silver medal in the women's event before going on to win gold at the mixed team event.
Having won the first round relatively easily, she had to fight hard and raise her game against Cuban Kaliema Antomarchi in the quarter-finals. She ended up winning by one full ippon in the golden score overtime. In the semi-finals, “Mado” dominated proceedings. She did not leave her opponent Hyunji Yoon a single opportunity, pushing her to three faults and booking her place in the finals in the process. Unfortunately, the 2019 World Champion was powerless in the finals against Shori Hamada, her heir apparent in the world rankings. In barely one minute, Madeleine was beaten with an ippon and immobilised. A disappointment for Madeleine, who had to get over it quickly in time for the mixed team event two days later.
Mission accomplished. France's mixed judo team made up of Clarisse Agbégnénou, Sarah-Leonie Cysique, Margaux Pinot, Romane Dicko, Madeleine Malonga, Amandine Buchard, Kilian Le Blouch, Alexandre Iddir, Guillaume Chaine and Teddy Riner pulled off a coup, emerging victorious in this new format against Japan, the favourite nation to win. So all in all, Madeleine Malonga won two medals in Tokyo – a gold in the mixed event and a silver in the women's event! An excellent performance!
“We were all disappointed with our performances in the individual events, so we were very keen to show our full potential. We gave it everything we had, and we got a bronze. It's not necessarily the one we wanted at the outset, but it's the first medal for the French triathlon team, so right now we are very happy with it”
For her second Olympics, Cassandre Beaugrand was unlucky during her individual race. The Team ENGIE triathlete unfortunately had to abandon her race after suffering a puncture at the start of the cycling.
Despite this disappointment in the individual event, Cassandre managed to bounce back with the France triathlon team for the first Olympic mixed relay event. This team, made up of Léonie Périault, Cassandre Beaugrand, Dorian Coninx and Vincent Luis got France its first medal since triathlon first featured in the Olympics in 2000. Forced to play catch-up after the first relay, Cassandre Beaugrand and Vincent Luiz, the last two relay athletes, managed to make up for lost time and finish in third position, just behind Great Britain and the US.
So the Team ENGIE athlete gets to go home with a bronze medal.
“Two years ago, if you’d told me I would be here, I would never have believed it. The impression I am going away with is of an extremely positive experience – despite the results. Admittedly, I am a little disappointed.”
For Team ENGIE surfer Pauline Ado, her Japanese adventure unfortunately ended in heat eight.
Under difficult conditions, with a very strong side wind, the performance that she delivered on the morning of heat eight was not what she was hoping for. Despite her very best efforts, Pauline was unable to hold her own against world number three, Australian Sally Fitzgibbons.
But despite being eliminated in the third round, the Team ENGIE surfer can be proud of what she accomplished in Tokyo. She already has her sights set on 2024. Well done Pauline!
“I can only feel happy and proud to be among the best and compete in an Olympic semi-final at my age (22 years old). The road was long. There's been a lot of sweat this year, with all the setbacks we've had with the pandemic. I'm pleased.”
For his first Olympic Games, Wilfried Happio ranked fifth (49:39), which opened the doors of the semi-finals for him.
Unfortunately, competition was just a little too stiff for the ENGIE ambassador from the Lille area.
Still, a valuable experience for Wilfried before Paris. Congratulations to him!
“I gave it my best shot, but it wasn't enough today. I'm proud of my performance.”
Despite her Olympic experience in Rio, Elodie Clouvel could only secure sixth position in the Tokyo Games. After some difficulties with the fencing event because of a problem with her heel, the Team ENGIE athlete began her second day in 24th place. Thanks to her previous experience as a professional swimmer, Elodie managed to climb up a few places in the general ranking after securing third place in the 200 m freestyle swim. With a lot of momentum, she was able to begin the show jumping with a little more peace of mind. Before the laser run, the Saint-Etienne ENGIE ambassador had a 25-second handicap to make up. Unfortunately, Elodie’s very best efforts were not enough. Although she did manage to climb up two places in the last event and finish in sixth place in the overall ranking – better than any of her teammates.
Well done Elodie – a tremendous fighting spirit despite a foot injury!
“It's not enough just to be there – we need to get a medal.”
Raphaël Beaugillet, 31 years old and holder of 22 France Championship titles is gearing up for his first Paralympic Games. François Pervis, 36 years old, seven-times World Champion and bronze medal-winner at the Rio Games, performed strongly on 28 August at the Tokyo Paralympics. The Team ENGIE para tandem pair finished third in the 1-kilometre event from a standing start. A brilliant bronze medal that rewards the magnificent preparation of this tandem pair, who have been practising together for just 18 months.
The French pair completed the four laps of the track in 1’00‘’472, at an average speed of almost 60 kph, setting a new personal best. They finished more than 2 seconds behind the British favourites Neil Fachie and Math Rotherham, who broke the world record, and 1 second behind another British pair, James Ball and Lewis Stewart. It was a great Paralympic debut for Raphaël, and a fantastic way for François to end his career, by becoming the third-ever athlete to win a medal in both the Olympic and the Paralympic Games
“I want to be satisfied with everything I have achieved, and I want to win the biggest prizes in French para table tennis.”
At the age of 41, Fabien Lamirault, who is an ENGIE ambassador in Marseilles, took 42 minutes to win in five sets (11-6, 12-14, 11-5, 7-11, 11-9) against Poland’s Rafal Czuper, an opponent he had already beaten 5 years previously in Rio. He retains his Paralympic table tennis champion’s title, not only in the singles, but in the doubles too! Because, just a few days later, Fabien won his second Paralympic title in Tokyo with his teammate Stéphane Molliens.
After a bronze in the singles and a silver in the doubles at the London Games, and two gold medals at the Rio Games, the world’s top class 2 table tennis player has now won six Olympic medals, including three in the singles
Through sport and sport’s most iconic event, by supporting a team of athletes in everything that they experience – their victories, their defeats and their determination –, ENGIE is demonstrating its desire to support the younger generation, helping them to achieve their aims – with humility, solidarity and respect.
Team ENGIE, let's share our energy!