Let’s go for the Paralympic Games! For this first day of competition in Tokyo, Wednesday August 25, France is placing several of its representatives in the various disciplines on the program. Swimming, table tennis, wheelchair rugby or even track cycling: the Blues will definitely be everywhere. Here is what not to miss for this first day of events.
Ugo Didier and Claire Supiot as worthy representatives of para-swimming
New sensation of the tricolor para-swimming, the young Ugo Didier, 19, begins his conquest of three gold medals in 400m, 200m medley and 100m backstroke. A search for perfection for his first Paralympic Games, which he will start with the S9 series of the 400m freestyle at 2 am, Wednesday (final at 10 am). The member of the Cugnaux Swimmers Circle already stood out last May with two titles over 400m and 200m medley at the European Championships in Funchal, Portugal. His very good friend, Alex Portal will also be in the game on Wednesday in the 100m. butterfly S13 (from 3h39). Like Ugo Didier, he is one of the favorites after his good European Championships concluded with four medals, three in silver and one in bronze.
For the women, it will be necessary to follow the ghost Claire Supiot (S9) in the 400m freestyle (from 2:21 for the series and the final at 10:10). She is the first Frenchwoman to participate in the Olympic and then Paralympic Games. In 1988, Claire Supiot, professional swimmer, competed in the Seoul Olympics. Affected by Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease in 2008, she returned to the pools and is now aiming for a medal at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo. We will also have an eye on the women’s 50m freestyle with Emeline Pierre (S9) at 3h33, who won his first bronze medal in this distance at the European Championship this year.
Special attention will also be paid to Brazilian Daniel Dias, who will participate in his fourth and last Games in Tokyo and who already has one of the richest records in history with 24 Paralympic medals including 14 gold. On Wednesday, he will start his program with the 200m freestyle (S5) at 3:56 a.m.
Two French people on track in para-cycling
In para-cycling, two French will set off in the race for the medal. For the men, Alexandre Lloveras will be lined up in category B for the 4000m pursuit with his driver Corentin Ermenault. Qualifications are to be followed from 4:52 am. The final stages will be to follow from 7:50 am for the bronze and 7:57 am for the gold. The pair is expected at the turn after his title of vice-world champion in the time trial last June.
As for women’s chances, France will be able to count on Marie Patouillet, the only woman to represent France in track cycling in Tokyo, in the C5 3000 m individual pursuit (from 4:17 a.m., then at 7:25 a.m. final for bronze and at 7:32 a.m. final for gold). The young woman is on the rise. For her first track world championships in 2019, she won bronze in the 500m stopped. The following year, she improved and won silver in the same event as well as in the omnium.
French avalanche in para-table tennis
France will be widely represented in the para-table tennis event on Wednesday. The first Habs to start their competition will be Florian Merrien (class 3), individual bronze medalist in Rio. From 4:40 am, three other French people will launch their Paralympic tournament: Clément Berthier (class 8), Stéphane Molliens (class 2) and Fabien Lamirault (class 2). Yes Clément Berthier will participate in his first Games, Stéphane Molliens, team gold medalist in Rio and Fabien Lamirault, individual and team Paralympic champion in Rio, will come to confirm in Tokyo.
Mateo Boheas (class 10) will take part in his first Paralympic Games and Lucas Creange (class 11) will try to do better than in Rio, having finished 9th in 2016. In the women too, we are expecting a medal with Thu Kamkasomphou (class 8), Paralympic champion in Sydney in 2000 and Beijing in 2008. A true figure in the discipline, she could further enrich her record in Tokyo.
Entry into contention of France in rugby armchair
This Wednesday also marks France’s debut in wheelchair rugby for men. The Habs will face off in their first Group A match against host country Japan. France is participating for the third consecutive time at the Games. The French, seventh in the world rankings, are not favorites but want to believe in their chances of a medal.
Two Frenchmen engaged in saber
After the fine collection of medals by the French fencing team during the Olympic Games, the wait is just as important at the Paralympics. Two French people will try to shine on Wednesday in the individual saber event: Romain Noble (category A), gold medalist in team épée in Rio and silver medalist in individual épée in London, and Maxime Valet (category B) , bronze medalist in individual foil and team foil five years ago in Rio.