By Jeremy Nedelec
There is behind the youthful features of the teenager of Penvenan a maturity that we quickly discover in the words of his father Mickaël. “A workaholic”. At 16, Youn Balcou will perhaps be the youngest judoka to tread the tatamis of senior world championships in Bakufrom 4 November (Azerbaijan), in the visually impaired category (Youn has Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy, which affects his sight).
The hope of AC Penvénan Judo (Dojo Côte de Granit), at the hope center in Rennes where he combines his passion and his studies in first general, including aim for a podium. “It will be hard, they are adults, and I am still only a youngster”, tempers the Trégorrois, who put on his first kimono at 4 years old.
At the pole for two years, he lives judo almost 7 days a week, “but I like it. It doesn’t bother me, ”says Youn, who has his roadmap in mind.
I would like to go to the France pole in Strasbourg next year, do my senior year in two years, and after, go to Paris, and see what happens…
“He never gives up”
The family passion (his big brothers Dorian and Ewenn, as well as his dad Mickaël, are also judokas) for this demanding discipline found an echo in this hard worker. “He doesn’t give up. On weekends: he goes running to clear his head or to the weight room, ”notes Mickaël.
He has such rigor. What I find exceptional in Youn is his mentality. I’ve been in judo for over 40 years, and it impresses me.
“He fights against the weight every day”
This concern for work and detail, judokas know well. The slender Trégorrois fighter (1m80 for less than 60 kg) also pays attention to diet. “He fights against the weight every day, because the category above in para judo is less than 73 kg. Suddenly, if it passes in less than 73 kg, there are 13 kg of muscles in front, even 15, because people also lose weight to pass under 73 kg, ”explains Mickaël Balcou.
The dad, a self-employed landscaper in Camlez, takes a calm and benevolent look at the paths of his sons. Youn aims for the Olympics, why not from Paris in two years. “His place is in less than 60 kg if he has to do it. Otherwise, it does not matter, he will wait for Los Angeles, ”he summarizes.
In Baku, the Penvénanais will gain experience. The trips, he begins to know. Fifth at the last European Championships in Cagliari (Italy), 2e in Heidelberg (Germany), and gilded at the Para Youth Games in Pajulahti, Finland, recently, Youn Balcou won on Costa Rican lands, with a victory in Lamballe, among the able-bodied. “It’s not trivial, underlines Mickaël Balcou. Nothing says he won’t be on the podium in Baku. »
In this daily life where we count, plan, anticipate and organize – “we think about the weight, the organization of transport” – Youn is also lucky to be well surrounded: “it’s important for balance. We don’t want him to become a rooster! laughs the father. But to carry the colors of France high, we can count on the young judoka.
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