Teddy Riner was born in Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe. He discovered sport in Aquaboulevard, in the south of Paris (15th district), where his parents enrolled him in a multisport club at the age of 5. Teddy was full of energy and tried climbing, golf, tennis, swimming… Very early on, however, he began to show a preference for judo and football.
At the age of 6, he was officially registered for both disciplines, with Paris Judo and Levallois respectively. “He was very gifted at both”, recalls his father, Moïse. “I remember he played in defence for his football team, but finished the season as their top scorer!” He had to choose, however, since he could not be allowed to neglect his studies. Teddy opted for judo. “I had already achieved some very good results”, he explains. “My choice was partly guided by my performance.” At Paris Judo, and then Judo Club Bolivar, he was trained by Alain Perriot.
At the age of 14, he joined Pôle Espoirs de Rouen. He remained there one year, during which he trained with Dominique Paolozzi. The following year, he returned to the capital to join the French national team at INSEP, where he was a boarder. He did the bulk of his preparation with Benoît Campargue, one of the national coaches. Nevertheless, Serge Dyot, his coach at Paris Judo and later at Lagardère Paris Racing, was never far away. The two men have known each other since Teddy was a teenager.
One year, during a session, the coach gave his own black belt to his young judoka, who had forgotten his. “I then wore it for a fight”, remembers Riner. “It brought me luck. I found it suited me better than him. Since then, I’ve always had it with me. I wear it in all my competitions. It’s my favourite belt.”
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