French judo coach denies domestic violence accusation

Martial arts coach admits scuffling with his Olympic judo champion partner but denies hitting her in the face after he was cleared of domestic violence by a French court

  • Margaux Pinot and Alain Schmitt held separate press conferences  
  • Pinot says Schmitt trying to paint her as a ‘hysterical woman’
  • Schmitt axed as coach to Israeli women’s judo team over abuse accusations
  • Pinot receiving support from fellow French Judo athletes 

Judo trainer Alain Schmitt accused Olympic champion Margaux Pinot of lying about domestic abuse, as the two held separate press conferences hours after he was cleared by a French court.

Schmitt, who appeared to be sporting a black eye, told journalists that he could never hit a woman, and what Pinot was saying was ‘100% false’.

Although he did admit to the pair of them being involved in a violent scuffle, he insisted that he never hit her in the face: ‘The percussions were strong. We went from right to left in the face. the walls, the radiator. We hit everything. I’m not doing any hits,’ Franceinfo reported him saying.

However, Olympic gold medallist Pinot, who had shared images of her battered face on Twitter after Schmitt was acquitted on Wednesday, held her own press conference, and accused Schmitt of trying to make her look like a ‘hysterical woman’, and gave her own account of that night. 

Alain Schmitt, sporting a black eye, admitted to getting in a fight with Margaux Pinot, but said it was not a case of domestic violence

Margaux Pinot told the press that Schmitt is attempting to make her look like a ‘hysterical woman’

‘He started telling me that my career was ruined, that he would find someone to f*** me in judo. I went to lie down in my bed, I plugged my ears. I’m used to hearing these words. I feel devalued, I have less confidence in myself for months,’ the 27-year-old judo champion told journalists.

Schmitt also lamented that he had been receiving death threats, and accused French athletes of ruining his job prospects. ‘French athletes called Israel to harm me, especially after my release,’ he said, referencing the fact that the Israel Judo Association had cut all ties with him in the wake of this incident.

He said he respects the appeal lodged by the prosecution after he was acquitted on Wednesday, but also hit out at the ‘media lynching’ and trial by social media.

‘There was an appeal [from the prosecution], it is justice. They have the right to do it and they have done it. Now, what I do not respect on the other hand is the media lynching that has been done around it. Instagram, Twitter, it’s anything but a court,’ he said.

In her press conference, Pinot expressed her fear that he was free, ‘He’s released into the wild, I’m scared I haven’t gone home’, she told reporters.

Schmitt was arrested just hours before he was due to head up the Israel Women’s National Judo Team as their new trainer, after an altercation took place at his and Pinot’s home, where she alleged that he had beaten her in an act of domestic violence.

He faced court on Wednesday, where he was acquitted by a judge, who said there was not enough evidence.

Hours later, Pinot shared a photo of her bruised and battered face on Twitter, which generated a huge amount of support, including from fellow French athletes.

Margaux Pinot shared a photo of her bruised and battered face hours after her judo coach and partner was acquitted of domestic violence

Stéphane Nomis, president of the French Judo Federation, and female French judo star Clarisse Agbégnénou both expressed shock over the court’s decision.

Agbégnénou tweeted: ‘I do not have the words to express everything that is going on in my head and my body as a woman in the face of what my teammate Margaux Pinot has gone through. All the more shocked by the court’s decision. What does it take for the sanctions to fall, death?’

Members of the French Judo community expressed their support, including three-time Olympic champion Teddy Riner, who tweeted: ‘We are all deeply touched by what our teammate Margaux Pinot has just suffered and we give her our full support. What must be done to ensure that victims are heard? That the attackers be convicted?’

Pinot tweeted: ‘During the night from Saturday to Sunday, I was the victim of an assault at my home by my companion and trainer.

‘I was insulted, punched, my head was hit on the ground several times. And finally strangled.’

She said she took refuge with her neighbours after escaping Schmitt’s alleged outburst, who then called the police.

She continued: ‘I have several injuries including a broken nose and 10 days of Temporary Interruption from Work. Today justice has decided to release him.’ 

The 27-year-old won a gold medal in the mixed team event at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. 

Margaux Pinot won a gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games

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