maintenance. “We must break the barriers of obstacles and keep dreaming,” pleads with Paralympic medalist Erika Sauzeau.

Erika Sauzeau, who was fascinated by the precision shooting workshop, pays close attention to the performance of the 35 participants on the detection day of the French Paralympic Sports Commission (CPSF). This Saturday, April 23, many memories come to mind in his mind. Three years ago, in the first edition of this program, entitled “La Relève,” which identifies athletes with a high probability of disability, she saw her life rotate 180 degrees. franceinfo: In the case of sport, she looks back on her experience and gives an impression two years after her Paris tournament.

Franceinfo: sport: In 2019, you participated in the first edition of “La Relève”. Today you are back in this third edition as a kind of “god mother”. Was it important to come to see new participants?

Erica Sozo: Of course, it’s also a sign of support for the CPSF that created this program. Committee members say it’s not that many, but for us, and for me, it was a trigger. Knowing that we can move to different sports, make sure the federation is interested in our profile … and realize that we can break the barrier and tell ourselves Try new areas without: “Oh no, my handicap will make it complicated.”..

Your example is impressive. In a year and a half, I noticed that people who had never participated in the Tokyo Paralympics were rowing …

Yes, I only played wheelchair sports, so it’s not a sport of my choice. I played basketball and found tennis. In addition, I’m very sensitive to the cold, it’s an outdoor sport … and in fact, I quickly fell in love with it. What, sometimes you have to go and find! You can reveal yourself in sports and find interest in it. That’s really the message I’m trying to convey. Participants are living well on this day, and participants are benefiting from interacting with the people around them. I know how they feel, I was there. Now I’m on a high level circuit, I made a game … all this means that you can get results with a big investment.

Erika Sauzeau, a Paralympic medalist rowing at the Tokyo Olympics on April 23, 2022, on the day of the discovery of the La Relais Program.  (PHILIPPE MILLEREAU / KMSP)

“Looking back five years, I’ve had great success. Keep dreaming more than ever, just as you have to have no barriers and have dreams!”

Erika Sauzeau, rowing Paralympic medalist

at franceinfo: Sports

Arrived at the disabled sports after two accidents that caused premature wear of the left knee joint. With a little hindsight today, how do you think sports have affected your life afterwards?

A big impact, that’s for sure. I accepted the handicap through sports. Then I was delighted, and it led me in a more competitive direction. It is also possible to resume social life. When you have an accident, you have a mobility problem, you often stay in the center of the family unit, it’s complicated to go out. And there are links and operation modes from before. And you can play and enjoy sports, which opens many other doors. My family and kids can see today that I can do crazy things, that I got out of it, and that it’s crazy. Looking back over the five years, I can say that I have had great success. Like what we shouldn’t set barriers, and we have to have dreams, we have to keep dreaming more than ever!

How was this transition to the top level?

By training for hours to improve my condition and, above all, learning to row because it’s so technical, I quickly gained my position as a top athlete. At the top level, you need to be able to send watts and have near-perfect techniques so that the boat doesn’t slow down and doesn’t really get fluid. I trained first individually, then as a couple, and then rowed with people with impressive records. It’s scary at first. The first two stages questioned its legitimacy and eventually worked. After that, I moved to 5 people with 4 rowers and 1 steer. This is a more trust issue. Each on our side develops our individual abilities to make effective use of them collectively in the course. This feeling is wonderful. Today we meet between the 7th and 10th of the month.

You also participated in a support program for high-level athletes from the army of army champions, the Ministry of Army …

Yes, this is an ideal status for athletes. We are 100% seconded and hold meetings for only one week a year to bring together all the high level sportsmen of defense. The contract also requires the sponsorship of a military unit selected by CNSD (National Center Defense Sports). ). I’m in Douai, you need to create a link with them, I also have small sporting challenges, communication, feedback and awareness about the game.

“Can Paris 2024 help us consider accessibility better? If we don’t take this order, we’ll never do it.”

Erika Sauzeau, rowing Paralympic medalist

at franceinfo: Sports

After this bronze medal in the mixed four fore in Tokyo, is the purpose inevitably a gold medal in Paris two years later?

Yes, that is the purpose. We want to beat English. We know the bars are expensive, they are professionals, so it’s a really different way of working. And it’s a competition for minimal handicap, it’s a game for every country to run. But the fact that you are a structural professional and paid monthly will change a lot. But we will never resign!

Finally, what do you expect from accessibility issues in Paris 2024? The London 2012 case is often praised by athletes with disabilities as a model to follow, is that also your idea?

All the athletes who were able to go to London 10 years ago told me it was really great. In that case, if you don’t participate in Paris 2024 turn, you will never participate. And the city of Paris knows this, it seems to me. It’s the old town and it’s impossible to develop all the metro lines, but there’s something to do. In Tokyo, I found a seat accessible to the paratroopers of the bus. In France, if you have a chair, you’re already sitting in it and you’re stuck in it, so I don’t think it’s for you. There are ideas to dig into and inspiration to grab. For example, in the United States, some merchants use Lego wheelchair ramps, which work very well. But accessibility in parking, public transport and sidewalks, it’s a trio and it’s always the same. After all, there are quite a few elements that are arranged end-to-end that you don’t have to go out and be independent. In the minds of many healthy people, if you go out in a wheelchair, you need to be accompanied. People will notice if they have the opportunity to test. By staying in an armchair for an hour, you can experience difficulties such as opening the door and going to the bathroom. Not to mention the equipment this requires for housing. There are many problems with the table and I hope this opportunity for home competitions will move the line.