Judo: Blandine Pont, a multi-faceted athlete

Wednesday, 3 may 2023

Blandine is a French judoka who has won a whole string of medals, a student studying dental surgery, and a spokesperson for young people pursuing a dual sporting and academic career. Discover her written and video portrait!

Blandine Pont, a judoka supported in her preparation for the Olympic Games Paris 2024 by DNCA, an asset management firm affiliated with Natixis Investment Managers, tells us about her love of judo, her state of mind, and her commitment as a spokesperson for athletes who, like her, have to reconcile high-level sport with university studies.

A career marked by a string of medals

After winning three gold medals in quick succession in the Paris, Tel Aviv, and Antalya Grand Slam tournaments in 2023 in the under 48kgs category, Blandine has been chosen to represent France in the World Judo Championships to be held in Doha from May 7 to 14, 2023. Today, she is completely focused on preparing for Paris 2024: “Until recently, Paris 2024 was just a dream but now it’s become an objective! A dream is insubstantial, it’s something we imagine, that we fantasize about a little, whereas an objective is something more tangible!”

One passion can mask another

If Blandine admits that while she is chiefly invested in judo, she is also actively pursuing her dental studies with a view to forging a stable professional project for the future. As a 4th-year student, she is already working in a clinical practice while simultaneously training at the INSEP national sports institute: “Both facets of my life help me to achieve a personal balance. We’re not simply athletes, even if that’s what defines us the best. Having something on the side helps you to build yourself as an individual and to put defeats and victories into perspective.”

Pursuing her studies requires her to be organized with military precision. She duplicates her years at university and catches up with her classes alone, alternating between sports training (4 to 5 hours a day) and classes or practical work in the clinic. Despite this busy timetable, she has decided to fight for students who, like her, try to combine high-level sports with higher education. She set up an association in 2022 – ‘TT Sport’ – with the specific purpose of speaking up for athletes pursuing a dual sporting and academic career: “Many athletes – including me – find it hard to keep up with their studies, to catch up for missed classes and justify their absences, etc. It’s a self-reinforcing chain of negative events that can have an immense impact on your sporting performance, and it’s important to escape from this vicious circle. It’s been really difficult for me personally, and I’m proud to be helping to make this situation a little better for others.”

The keys to success

Blandine’s driving force continues to be her passion for judo: “When you’re passionate about something, it’s easier. I’m motivated by my love for my sport, my curiosity, and the fact that I have goals to pursue. It gets me up in the morning, it helps me to remain enthusiastic.” Behind all this positive energy, she’s supported by a whole team that shares her project and inspires her with the confidence she needs to succeed: her mental trainer and psychologist, her family (who are pillars of support), her trainers from the French team, and her coaches. Blandine also enjoys the support of her official sponsor as she prepares for the Olympic Games: DNCA, an asset management company affiliated with Natixis Investment Managers, one of Groupe BPCE’s global business lines. Providing much more than just financial support, it is also a real source of motivation: “It counts a lot and goes much further than just the financial side of things. They provide me with both human and moral support. It’s one of my driving forces!”

“We share the same flame”