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First in its group and qualified for the quarter-finals, the French women’s rugby sevens team can win a medal in the Olympic tournament. She can count on Séraphine Okemba, one of the best current players in the discipline.
It was in Japan that Séraphine Okemba experienced her first shivers in the French team. In September 2017, for her baptism with the blue jersey, she registered a try. Almost four years later, she would see a Marseillaise sound in the same place on the Olympic stadium in Tokyo to celebrate a medal.
“We worked a lot, I am convinced that we have our chances to win the best medals”, she explains in the Republican Echo.
The French women’s rugby sevens team demonstrated to their opponents that this statement was far from being pretentious. The French septists won all their group matches against Fiji 12-7, against Brazil (40-5), then against Canada (31-0). Next stop scheduled for noon (Paris time) this Friday, July 30.
During this successful first part of the tournament, Séraphine Okemba scored two tries and above all made a strong impression on the spectators because of her physical qualities.
– Popy (@ Jaris82805580) July 30, 2021
“My game is speed, support. I like to challenge opponents, including physically. Because I’m still quite thick!” She explains in the Republican Echo while playing solidarity with his teammates. “I don’t think I stand out from the crowd. And when I do, it’s because I’m lucky to have teammates who put me in a situation.”
Au pair in London for three years
A native of Dreux near the Paris region, the young woman discovered rugby late, at 16, first at school then in a club after the encouragement of her physical education teacher. Full of qualities, Séraphine Okemba wasted no time in moving from Rugby Club Drouais to Stade Rennais. Then at Stade Toulousain and finally at Saracens, in England.
“I wanted to be bilingual,” she recalls, questioned by Women’s sport. “I spent three years in London, it was great. I was juggling rugby and my role as an au pair. I discovered a different style of play and life. Good memories.”
She then had the opportunity to sign a contract with the French Sevens Rugby Federation. She does not hesitate for a single second: “I had already been passionate about this game for a long time. I believe that it corresponds to my qualities, to what I like as an individual”, she explains.
Quickly, she shines with the France team, to the point of becoming the top scorer in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Monaco (TQO) in June 2021.
“It’s more than a dream. If I had been told in high school that I would cross the world thanks to rugby, I would not have believed it. I was a competitor, I wanted to go as far as possible, but to there imagining one day wearing the jersey of the France team… “