World runner-up last August, winner of the Masters last December, the Georgian fighter begins his year with a bronze medal at the Paris Grand Slam. Varlam Liparteliani brilliantly continues his adaptation in his « new » weight category, the -100 kg one. His ultimate goal this year ? To be on top for the Baku World Championships next September to finally win gold, after four World podiums.
By Ludovic Mauchien
Surprised by the French Olympic bronze medallist, Cyrille Maret, in the quarter-finals of the Paris Grand Slam (February 10th-11th), Varlam Liparteliani then did not run through the check-list to win the bronze medal, his second one in Paris in -100 kg, scoring two Ippons against Swedish Pacek and Croatian Kumric.
Are you happy with your competition in Paris ?
I am always happy to be in Paris because people love Judo. And I love when many people come to a competition very early and support some guys. It’s a good thing for athletes. So I am always happy to be in Paris.
Are you satisfied with your 3rd place ?
Yes because that’s only the second time that I fight in the Paris Grand Slam in my new weight category and I won a second bronze medal in -100 kg. I am a little sad because I didn’t win and a little bit happy because I won a medal. I have started a new year. It was my first competition. I just tried to do my best in my new category.
How do you feel your Judo in this -100 kg category ?
It’s not easy. When you change weight category, you change everything, conditioning, movements, timing… I still need more power. I just changed one year ago. I need conditioning training, power training, speed training. I will be better next year (he laughs).
You ranked 2nd at the Worlds and 1st at the Masters. It’s not so bad for the moment…
Yes, it’s quite good. I may miss 10 or 15% so it’s possible to improve. In the -90 kg division, I had better moves. When I changed weight category, I lost some movements and speed. I have to work on this in priority.
What is your coming schedule ?
I won’t do all the tournaments. I will participate to the Düsseldorf Grand-Prix and, then, Maybe the Russian Grand Slam (in Ekaterinburg on March 17th-18th) and then, the European championships (April 26th-28th).
But my main goal is the World championships. It’s important for me. I have two silver and two bronze medals but no gold. I need the gold medal. I really want it ! It’s my dream. I will do everything to win this competition. The Europeans would just be a step to control my body and my mind, and to know how I feel and how I go to the World championships.