He had not fought for 4 years. Then, on a Sunday afternoon, « Mister Ura » was back on the tatami mats. For the Olympics or for fun ? For fun, as always. And guess what ? He won ! This was last weekend, for the adidas Open. William Rolle, 33, wanted to see « if his legs were still going up ». The 2014 World champion ate this up. So… what does it feel like ?

By Ludovic Mauchien / Photos : DR


How are you ?

I am okay ! I took a morning off. I am curled up to death. I had forgotten what it was to do 6 rounds (he laughs). Besides that, it made me feel good, this little competition (he laughs).

Why did you decide to participate ?

My wife did it. She decided to come back and try to win her selection for Algeria. Since we train together, I did not feel physically bad. I do sparring every day. Daniel (De Barros, the coach of Sarcelles) asked me if I wanted to do the Open.

Did you have fun ?

At first, there is still stress. But, after, I took really some pleasure. My wife Houria was competing at the same time. I coached her, I came back fighting. I thought : "You have nothing to prove so just enjoy ! Try to do some spectacular techniques to see if your legs are still going up (he laughs). It was like a jubilee. But that made me happy.

Was it tough ?

The first round was tricky. 4 years without competition is a long time... Over the turns, I began to feel better and better, but heavy in the legs. It concerns the rhythm. In training, we do intensive work for 1h - 1h30 but there are no breaks. There, what is hard, it is to make 3 minutes thoroughly, to stop for a good while, to warm up again, to fight again. In the final, I had no more legs. I managed with experience.

You scored some legs…

Oh, yeah, I did alomst every round (he laughs), or so. My legs still go up ! I also did some sweeps, but as I was in -75 kg, I could not finish them well each time, but the move was there.

Ura or Mawashi ?

I put a Mawash’. It slammed ! I think it was my best point, but I scored more Ura. When you miss something, you rely on your strong point. And Ura is my special.

You fought in -75 kg and not -67 kg ?

I weighed 69 kg. I had 2 kg to lose. But it was a long time since I had not made a diet. If I lost weigh too quickly, I would have been tired. I preferred to be in full possession of my means.

Are the Olympics jumoing into your mind ?

When there was the announcement (in 2016), it made me think for sure. When I was a kid, it was a dream to make the Games. But, with hindsight, the age (33 years on October 14th), my personal professional goals, all that I have already accomplished in this sport, this is not the priority. The Olympics are not my ultimate goal. But, if there is an opportunity, if I am told that there is a way to achieve it, I would give myself fully to qualify for the Games. But I do not think about it morning, noon and night.