Fabien Lamirault at the relaunch of the Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines International Open

Most of the French medalists from last summer’s Paralympic Games have an appointment from this Thursday, and until May 8, at the velodrome of Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines which hosts the second edition of the International Open of tennis parataula. An important event that now belongs to the circuit of the most important planetary tournaments, qualifying for the World Championship that will take place in early November in Granada (Spain).

We will find Matéo Boheas, individual silver medalist in Tokyo, Maxime Thomas, in individual and team bronze, or stainless steel Thu Kamkasomphou, crowned in 2000 and who had added individual and team bronze to his collection. in Japan. But the event will also be an opportunity to watch the now four-time Paralympic champion Fabien Lamirault (42), who will face several challenges for the 2024 Paris Games. “We have restarted the machinedeclares this father of three children, paraplegic from a car accident when he was 17 years old. After a first tournament in March in Spain, we look forward to shining this week in Saint-Quentin, to continue with another tournament in Slovenia next week. We will try to store as many benchmarks as possible, rather than trust, in a new gaming system.

He changed the hardware to a more dynamic game

As after his 2016 gold double in Rio, Fabien Lamirault took the time to digest these two Tokyo victories. “I only took the racket in the last week of Novemberremember. The change of game that I want to start helping, we returned to the room with excitement and taste. The desire is there, and it is natural to return to training, to project oneself towards other goals. »

In this case, despite his experience and accumulated victories, Fabien Lamirault wanted to develop his game to stay in a good dynamic, trying to stay a little ahead of the competition. “In our sport, we have a lot of possibilities depending on the racket we play with, with different coatings to produce different games.”remember who, therefore, changed equipment to tend to a more dynamic game than the system adopted since 2014. “It means spending a few more hours at the table to grab the new racket and try to be as fast as possible, as efficient as possible. Opponents, we know them by heart, we don’t start from scratch, but there are little subtleties to master. “He added, quite pleased with the first observations, despite the defeat in the final of a tournament in Spain last March, against the Polish Rafal Czuper, whom the Frenchman had defeated in the final of the Paralympic Games in Rio and Tokyo.

Fabien Lamirault, training in early January at CREPS Ile-de-France in Châtenay-Malabry. (C. Lartillot / The team)

A new doubles partner to find

Obviously, this technical change must respond to the evolution of the opposites, but not only. “The other reason is that we have a new picture coming”, says Fabien Lamirault. Get out of the team competition, which he had won with Stéphane Molliens in 2016 as in 2021. In addition to the singles table, there will now be a doubles table, and a 3rd that is being created for mixed doubles. Associated with Alexandra Saint-Pierre, the table tennis player faces a first challenge: “I am destined to play with new rivals who are not in my category, and I need a different weapon to go against their plans. » In Spain, the duo certainly lost in the final, but their journey was exciting for the future.

“We have both been in the French national team for almost ten years, we shared x doubles with great success”

Fabien Lamirault, at the end of his association with Stéphane Molliens

As for the other doubles event, it has a particular challenge: finding the successor to Stéphane Molliens who stopped his career to move on to directing. “We had both been in the French national team for almost ten years, we shared x doubles with great success, says Fabien Lamirault. On is looking for a new partner to replace him. »

Which promises to be tricky given the level of his partner, which Molliens also had individually since he sailed to the Top 4 in the world for most of his career. “We talk a lot with the staff, I share my feelings. There are preferential regimes “says Fabien Lamirault who played with Teddy Gaudry in Spain and will rehearse in Slovenia with Julien Michaud. “Then we will take stock, but I think it will be a long waywarn the eldest. Everyone will have to take their place, take their chance to find the best composition for 2024 “.

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