French coach says ‘defended’ himself against judo champion

French judo coach Alain Schmitt, accused by Olympic judo champion Margaux Pinot of domestic violence, claimed on Friday that he had merely defended himself in a fight that he said she started.

French coach says 'defended' himself against judo champion
Former French judo coach demonstrates the fight in wihch he claims he was attacked by Olympic judo champion Margaux Pinot. Photo: Anne-Christine Poujoulat / AFP

Pinot, who won mixed team gold at the Tokyo Olympics, has accused Schmitt — her partner and former coach — of attacking her in a drunken rage while she was in bed in her apartment Saturday night.

“He straddled me, and started punching me, left and right,” the 27-year old told a news conference on Thursday, her face covered in bruises. “I didn’t even defend myself to avoid the punches, instead I tried to reason with him. I said ‘Stop Alain, stop’, I thought to myself, I need to get away from him, or I’ll die here”.

Police arrested Schmitt, but he was released after a court hearing early Wednesday, with the judge saying that there was insufficient evidence to support the domestic violence allegation.

“My impression is that I was defending myself,” Schmitt told the BFMTV broadcaster Friday. “I have never hit a woman in my entire life. In my intimate life I am a tender person.”

Prosecutors immediately lodged an appeal against the court’s decision which sparked widespread anger, including from candidates campaigning for next year’s French presidential election.

Far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon called the incident “revolting” and said about the court’s decision: “What else do they need? For her to die?”

Socialist candidate Anne Hidalgo, who is the mayor of Paris, said that Pinot “has all my support”, while Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu said that “Margaux is clearly the victim here”.

But Schmitt said that it was Pinot who attacked him, out of anger because he was about to leave for Israel where he had been hired to coach the national women judo team.

Schmitt said he accepted the job to get out of the relationship with Pinot which he said had been “complicated” over the past two years.

He told BFMTV that, during the fight, he tried to leave the apartment, but “each time I was pulled back, by my T-shirt or my arm”.
He insisted that he “neither punched nor kicked” her. “I’m not violent. Everybody needs to hear that,” he said.

Schmitt, who had a large bruise on one side of his face, reiterated that they both crashed into walls and the floor during the judo-style fight which he said explained the injuries.

Pinot has rejected Schmitt’s version of events, telling reporters: “He’s lying.”

Following the accusations, the Israeli judo federation broke off contact with Schmitt. Apart from her Olympic medal, Pinot has notably won two European champion titles and a world championship bronze medal.

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Swedish opposition proposes ‘rapid tests for ADHD’ to cut gang crime

The Moderate Party in Stockholm has called for children in so called "vulnerable areas" to be given rapid tests for ADHD to increase treatment and cut gang crime.

Swedish opposition proposes 'rapid tests for ADHD' to cut gang crime

In a press release, the party proposed that treating more children in troubled city areas would help prevent gang crime, given that “people with ADHD diagnoses are “significantly over-represented in the country’s jails”. 

The idea is that children in so-called “vulnerable areas”, which in Sweden normally have a high majority of first and second-generation generation immigrants, will be given “simpler, voluntary tests”, which would screen for ADHD, with those suspected of having the neuropsychiatric disorder then put forward for proper evaluations to be given by a child psychiatrist. 

“The quicker you can put in place measures, the better the outcomes,” says Irene Svenonius, the party’s leader in the municipality, of ADHD treatment, claiming that children in Sweden with an immigrant background were less likely to be medicated for ADHD than other children in Sweden. 

In the press release, the party said that there were “significant differences in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD within Stockholm country”, with Swedish-born children receiving diagnosis and treatment to a higher extent, and with ADHD “with the greatest probability” underdiagnosed in vulnerable areas. 

At a press conference, the party’s justice spokesman Johan Forsell, said that identifying children with ADHD in this areas would help fight gang crime. 

“We need to find these children, and that is going to help prevent crime,” he said. 

Sweden’s climate minister Annika Strandhäll accused the Moderates of wanting to “medicate away criminality”. 

Lotta Häyrynen, editor of the trade union-backed comment site Nya Mitten, pointed out that the Moderates’s claim to want to help children with neuropsychiatric diagnoses in vulnerable areas would be more credible if they had not closed down seven child and youth psychiatry units. 

The Moderate Party MP and debater Hanif Bali complained about the opposition from left-wing commentators and politicians.

“My spontaneous guess would have been that the Left would have thought it was enormously unjust that three times so many immigrant children are not getting a diagnosis or treatment compared to pure-Swedish children,” he said. “Their hate for the Right is stronger than their care for the children. 

Swedish vocab: brottsförebyggande – preventative of crime