Lausanne, Switzerland, January 13, 2020 – Jean Patry says that France will need to maintain top form after they secured their place at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games by winning the CEV Men's Tokyo Volleyball Qualification tournament.
Laurent Tillie’s team beat hosts Germany 3-0 (25-20, 25-20, 25-23) in the final at the Max-Schmeling-Arena and the 23-year-old Patry finished as leading scorer with 85 points.
France will be striving to better their Rio de Janeiro 2016 performance. Four years ago, Les Bleus arrived in confident mood having won the 2015 FIVB Volleyball World League and CEV European Championship but failed to progress from the pool at Rio 2016.
“We're going to the Games to go as far as possible, not to stop in the first round,” Patry said. “We will have to try to reproduce what we saw during these five days.
“We did not tremble from start to finish. We didn’t worry and found answers to problems. Little by little we collected the points to get over the line.
“It's amazing. During this tournament, the state of mind was to always fight and never give up and we were rewarded for that.”
Tokyo 2020 will be France’s fifth Olympic appearance, though they had to fight back from a slow start in Berlin.
They began with a win over Serbia and only scraped into the semifinals after defeats to Bulgaria and the Netherlands.
A 3-2 (13-25, 22-25, 25-14, 25-21, 15-9) win over Slovenia in the semifinals put them in the final where Patry continued his strong form by scoring 14 points.
It means France have put the woes of 2019 behind them. In the space of a month they missed out on qualifying from the FIVB Tokyo Volleyball Qualification tournament in Gdansk when they finished second to Poland, and then failed to make the podium when they hosted the CEV European Championship.
“Nobody would have bet on us with everything that had happened to us, but we, I think we knew deep down that we could do it, and we did it, that's what is the most beautiful,” Patry said.
“It’s a crazy emotion, of course, because it’s the Olympics.”