• Laure Fournier: “Believe in yourself and go get that dream!”

Laure Fournier: “Believe in yourself and go get that dream!”

21 September 2017 Sergei Grishin
Laure Fournier: “Believe in yourself and go get that dream!”

Today, September 21, Peace and Sport announced a list of 9 sportsmen who entered the club "Champions for Peace". The French sambist Laure Fournier is among them. The FIAS website took this opportunity to take a big interview with the champion.

– Laure, FIAS nominated you and Peace & Sport chose you as the Champion for Peace. What do you feel about this?

– I am very proud to have been chosen by FIAS and then accepted by Peace & Sport. It makes me very happy to know I will be able to spread the word on our sport and help others at the same time.

– In your opinion, how does sports, and especially SAMBO, could bring people of different nationalities and different social categories closer?

– When you practice SAMBO, you forget about everything else. You are in a bubble. Everyone wears the same uniform (Kurtka, Shorty), and you all speak the same language: SAMBO! You know the same techniques, whether you are from Venezuela or France, rich or poor. If you don’t know the same techniques, you can show the other, therefore sharing knowledge and growing stronger together.

Laure Fournier: “Believe in yourself and go get that dream!”

– What can active athletes do to help children from least developed countries or regions to follow the right path and choose sport for their future?

– Active athletes are role models for children: sharing a bit of their time to initiate children, to talk to them about their pathway and make them want to do the same, make them dream and want to realize this dream: this is how you can bring children to sambo.

– You are coaching children. What values do you teach them? What values of SAMBO, as a sport, help in this?

– I teach children the values of respect, self-control, friendship, modesty, courage, tenacity… Those are values necessary in SAMBO but as well in the day-to-day life! Being able to control oneself when you have fallen or are being criticized; respecting others’, who they are, their opinion; being modest when you win because no one likes a show-off and it can be disrespectful. Being modest is not incompatible with being proud! Courage and tenacity are 2 values that can get you anywhere: believe in yourself and go get that dream!

Laure Fournier: “Believe in yourself and go get that dream!”

– How the SAMBO community and its values can help in building peace?

– On an international level, Sambo can help building peace by bringing different nationalities together in competitions but also in training camps – to fight together and get better together. Shaking hands before and after the fight is also a great sign of respect: you respect the opponent you are going to fight, and in the end you respect the other, whether winner or loser, because each of you gave the best on those few minutes.

On a more local level, the SAMBO community attracts people from various social categories to a single goal, sports. Learning SAMBO together, fighting together, fighting one another, can help diffuse tensions that appear outside of the SAMBO hall.

– Do you have any specific ideas or plans for your activity as a Champion for Peace?

– Of course, becoming a Champion for Peace means that I have thought a lot about how I could best represent SAMBO and relate it to Peace & Sports projects! The first project I would like to support is the Foundation Maria Guedez that was created by 2015 World Champion Maria Guedez from Venezuela. This Foundation helps the poorest children of Chavez, Valencia, Carabobo to have a better life: training in sambo is helping them to feel more powerful, which means they don’t need to show their power to others to be respected. It helps them with school too, by giving lessons and helping children to get back to class with the right level. It also teaches children SAMBO values, to help them be better people as they grow up. I believe this Foundation is very important and can help Venezuela’s children as well as create an emulation for SAMBO in this country.

Laure Fournier: “Believe in yourself and go get that dream!”

I am also working on a project of SAMBO for disabled in France, and would like to first organize a tour of France to initiate young ones to SAMBO and then help clubs around France create their SAMBO schools and a special SAMBO course for disabled.

In the future I will also work with SAMBO athletes from different countries to create projects that link Peace & Sambo.

– If you could change one thing in the world right now, what would you change?

– I would eliminate Greed. I believe this is the cause of most of the world’s evils. Greed for power, greed for money, greed for land, greed for the other’s possessions or successes… If no one was greedy, then we could all probably live in peace and share everything we have, we could make people around us grow as we grow…

Laure Fournier: “Believe in yourself and go get that dream!”

– When did you try SAMBO for the first time? How did it happen? Did you like it?

– I think my first time in SAMBO was in February 2012, for the French Sambo Championships. I had no idea about the rules, but a friend of mine told me “Come on, it’s gonna be fun! I’ll tell you the rules in the car” so I went. She explained the rules in the car and I ended up winning the championships, and having a lot of fun. 

– Laure, you have so many titles and awards in SAMBO, could you tell us how did your sports career begin?

– I wasn’t able to participate in the European Championships in May 2012, but I was watching it live on Internet and I was following my friend Samantha le Cocguen’s fights. I remember her fighting Marina Zharskaya from Belarus and it was an incredible fight. I was really living it and I was frustrated not to be on the mat that day! When I was selected for the World Championships in Minsk, I was really excited and started to train harder.

Laure Fournier: “Believe in yourself and go get that dream!”

– What was your first championship? What feelings did you have?

– My first international championship was the World Championships in Minsk in 2012. I had nothing to lose: no one knew about me, I didn’t know anyone so there was no pressure. I won my first fight, lost in the semi-final to Kalina Stefanova from Bulgaria: I remember I had no solution against her. She was so quick and attacked in every direction! She was really strong. Then I won my third fight, to get the bronze medal. I was so proud and happy! But I think I didn’t realize at that time what this medal meant. I do know, as without it I would probably not have won all the others after.

– What championship or which fight was the most remarkable for you? Why?

– The World Combat Games in 2013 was the most remarkable competition I guess, as it was my first gold medal and “Marseillaise”. I had a very tough draw as the first fight was against Nadia who beat me in the Europeans’ final in 2013, but I managed to get past her. Then I had to fight an Italian and won on the ground. In the final I was fighting Kalina Stefanova, who beat me in the World’s 2012, and managed to win the fight very quickly with an armlock! I was so happy!

Laure Fournier: “Believe in yourself and go get that dream!”

– Have you ever practiced other sports? Which ones? Why did you choose SAMBO?

– I started sports when I was 4 years old, doing ballet! I practiced during 8 years. I also did Ice skating for 4 years, and I started judo when I was 8. Now I do both Judo and SAMBO. SAMBO is a really fun sport, with many solutions to win, it is very tactical and I just love it.

– If you hadn’t become a SAMBO athlete, what sport would you have done?

– I love climbing, so I guess I may have done this sport more intensely if it wasn’t for SAMBO!

– Almost every person has the idol, who do you try to be like. Do you have such a person?

– No, I don’t have an idol, I just try to be the best person I can be!

Laure Fournier: “Believe in yourself and go get that dream!”

– Who has been the greatest inspiration in your life today?

– I guess my greatest inspiration is my mother. She has always been there for me, she is the kindest, strongest and most beautiful person I know. 

– Is anybody of your family or among close friends practicing SAMBO? Do they support you? Do they travel with you to the championships?

– I tried to get my brother involved in SAMBO but at the moment he hasn’t stuck to it. My mum hasn’t attended a competition in person yet but whenever there is livestreaming she stays up all night to watch my fights (my parents currently live in New Caledonia, with a great time difference!). My partner does SAMBO too and he is with me on every championship, supporting me and pushing my limits further!

Laure Fournier: “Believe in yourself and go get that dream!”

– Tell us an interesting incident which occurred at the training camp or competition with you?

– I think the most incongruous thing that happened to me in a competition was in May 2017 in the European Championships: I was in a fight and had my opponent in an armlock. She didn’t want to tap out so she started biting my leg! At first I didn’t realize what was happening, and then I tried to get my leg out of her mouth but she started biting even harder. I applied the armlock with more strength and she finally gave up. When we were back on our feet, I had two teeth marks at the back of my leg. I was furious by this lack of fair play. Even a week later I had a massive bruise still!  

– How do you prepare yourself for competitions?

– Before a competition there is a lot of preparation needed. I usually train in SAMBO every day, work out twice a week and run twice a week. The sessions depend on the date of the upcoming event.

– What do you need to win competitions?

– To win a competition, you need training and the strongest mindset.

Laure Fournier: “Believe in yourself and go get that dream!”

– What do you do besides SAMBO?

– I work as a commercial engineer: I sell LiDAR systems for drones worldwide, which are used for mapping topography, trees, powerlines…

– What are your social activities?

– Most of my social activities are training! I go out for a walk with friends sometimes, or go for a nice lunch. Once in a while I go out dancing. But I don’t have much free time between work and training!

– If we move away from sports a little, do you have any aspirations or dreams that you want to accomplish?

– Workwise I would like to create my own company someday. Otherwise I want to learn new languages, discover other cultures, landscapes, countries… I’d love to do a year-long world-tour one day!

VIDEO: Laure Fournie in the "FIAS supports world Peace" project

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