Yohann Ndoye Brouard Sees Ticket To Tokyo As Warm-Up For Home Paris 2024 Olympic Games
Yohann Ndoye Brouard will be 25 come a home Games at Paris 2024, his long-term goal beyond the experience of an Olympic debut now in sight at the Covid-delayed Tokyo 2020 after a swashbuckling 52.97 blast over 100m backstroke on Golden Tour in Marseille yesterday.
Speaking through the French Swimming Federation (FFN) after becoming the third Frenchman ever to crack the 53sec mark, Ndoye Brouard said:
“The [Tokyo] Games are crazy. I don’t want to go there as a spectator. I want to go as far as possible and gain experience before Paris.”Yohann Ndoye Brouard
The only other two Frenchmen to have raced below 53sce over 100m backstroke are joint World champions Jérémy Stravius and Camille Lacourt.
Soon, France may have four: Mewen Tomac was just outside the 53sec mark in both heats (53.10) and final (53.19). Both Ndoye Brouard, who turns 21 this year, and Tomac, who leaves his teens behind this year, are at the very beginning of their senior careers.
Asked what his view of Tomas was, Ndoye Brouard paid plaudits to a rival who pushes him to his “limits”, adding: “… I wouldn’t be here without him”.
Coached by the experienced Michel Chrétien at INSEP, Nydoye Brouard spoke to the FFN after landing a ticket to Tokyo. Here is some of what he had to say:
Q: How do you feel after that race?
Yohann Ndoye Brouard: I am super happy and happy to swim under 53 seconds. I didn’t really have a goal this afternoon, except to win. I put man foot down at the end and was really thinking about the place and not the time.
Q: How did you manage to bounce back from the heats after Mewen produced the fastest time?
Yohann Ndoye Brouard: This morning, I was disappointed because I touched, I saw myself at the Olympics on 53 seconds and 0.1sec later [realised] I was gone [someone ahead of him – Tomac’s 53.10 to his 53.2].”
Q: How did you approach the final?
Yohann Ndoye Brouard: I rested well and was just thinking of winning. I didn’t think I was going to swim so fast. My coach told me ‘under 53 seconds’, but I couldn’t quite believe it. Achieving 52.9 is unbelievable, I don’t have words to express how I feel about it!
Q: But it’s true – you’ll be in Tokyo this summer…
Yohann Ndoye Brouard: “I can’t quite fathom it. I’m going to go see my mum, give her a hug and then it’ll sink in.
Q: Did you aim to qualify in this first Olympic selection phase?
Yohann Ndoye Brouard: It was complicated at the start of the year because I returned to competition after eight months without a race. I swam 53.40 in Amiens (first round of the Golden Tour), was very happy and started to consider swimming under 53.34. Michel didn’t put any pressure on me and told me that the important thing was to qualify [for Tokyo], now or in June. I’m glad I made it first time round.
Q: What do you think of the Olympics?
Yohann Ndoye Brouard: The Games are crazy. I don’t want to go there as a spectator. I want to go as far as possible and gain experience before Paris.
Q: What is your relationship with Mewen Tomac?
Yohann Ndoye Brouard: There is a lot of respect between the two of us, we’re super rivals, we push each other to our limits and I think I wouldn’t be here without him.