'Les Bleus' still waiting for the magic to kick in

Anne-Lise Touya, Frederique Jossinet, Franck Dumoulin... Theses athletes were supposed to mount the podium in Beijing. While they at one time did win an Olympic medal or world title, they completely failed today, the first day of the Olympic Games. The goal of the French delegation, to win at least 35 medals, seems quite distant.

There were three French women competing in the women's individual sabre, and the all three failed it the first round: the double world champion (in 2001 and 2005) Anne-Lise Touya, Léonore Perrus et Carole Vergne.

French judoka Frederique Jossinet was beaten by a Japanese opponent in the first round in less than 30 seconds. However, the silver medallist in Athens was a serious gold medal hope in her category under 48 kg.

Gold medallist at the 2000 Sydney Games, Franck Dumoulin, a medal favourite in Beijing, finished a disappointing 25th in men's 10-metre air pistol. Walter Lapeyre is the first Frenchman with a nice seventh-position ranking.


"It is hard to open the Games"

Térence Joubert, a French fencer, is in Beijing to boost the French delegation. He is analysing the game of the French Sabre squad (Anne-Lise Touya, Leonore Perrus, Carole Vergne) which has taken an early exit.

It is hard because the girls were not able to play their game even though they are quite experienced. It is hard also to start the Games... I think they were able to measure up their opponents but they struck out physically. Leonore, who was among the favourites, was beaten by Tunisian [Azza Besbes]. She could have beaten her. Anne-Lise lost to the Hungarian [Orsolya Nagy] but she is used to practicing at a better level. And Carole's defeat is due to a bad start in the match. It is shameful.

These are Anne-Lise's last Olympic Games while they are Carole's first. Anyway, defeat is the same for everyone. Whether you are under pressure or not, when you lose, you are overwhelmed by distress. And that's really hard. Moreover, they did not attend to the opening ceremony yesterday in order to remain focused.

They will need a few days to go further. But they will be eager to compete for the team event on August 14th [The French Sabre squad is the world champion team]. I hope we will win some medals tomorrow [with the men's individual sword] to create an osmosis in the French team and to drag everyone into victory.

Interview of Bernard Laporte posted by France24 on Youtube