Photo: Badmintonphoto
Mathieu Thomas: Like a roller coaster
Date: 7/11/2020 7:17 PM
Published by : Emilie Sommer (BEC)

Mathieu Thomas, 36, is a Para badminton player competing in the SL3 category. He first got into playing Para badminton in 2015, but even though he has only been playing for around five years, the Frenchman has already won numerous medals and titles. 

In the few years he has been playing he has already won a bronze medal at the World Championships, two bronze, one silver and one gold medal at the European Championships, seven gold medals, one silver and one bronze medal at the French Championships as well as a lot of tournaments. Asking Thomas what is the best thing about Para badminton, he says. 

- I love badminton, it requires physicality, technique but above all tactics. It’s a duel like chess but with the added physical aspect. For me, the best thing is that I have the opportunity to face people who have almost the same difficulties to move. I have the chance to travel the world to face them and also to dream of Paralympic games for four years.

There are a lot of good things about badminton, but there can also be things that are difficult or tough.   

- The most difficult is to find the team that will allow you to professionalise yourself. Today to perform in Para badminton, you need a training structure, medical staff and financial partners to help you get to the Paralympics.

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The last 12 months probably hasn’t been easy for anyone as most things have been shut down since March and the tournaments won’t begin before the end of August. Taking us through how the last 12 months have been for Thomas, he says. 

- Like a roller coaster. The chain of competitions was not easy. We are often on the move and therefore have very little time for training. The COVID-19 pandemic was also very complicated because it left a vacuum regarding qualifications for Tokyo.

The Paralympic Games were postponed as well as the Olympics Games. From a badminton point of view - what does it mean for Para badminton as a sport? Thomas gives his answer on that.

- The postponement was essential, it is the vagaries and we have to deal with it. Now that we have a new date, we will have to reschedule the workouts to be ready for D-Day.

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I did everything

When the Paralympics was postponed it left the players up in the air not knowing how the end of the qualification would be. Describing how the COVID-19 situation left Thomas in all of this. 

- It is clear that it isn’t easy when we don’t have visibility. The postponement of the games had been announced but we knew very late how the end of qualification was going to happen. For my part, I find that the decision took too long to come and especially I don’t think that it changes much. Redoing a competition will not change much. The athletes will be if they qualify even later. For my part, I won't know until June 2021.

Explaining what it would mean for the French player to go to the Paralympics, he says.

- It is a big life goal, a dream and I would really like to participate. This is goal number one at the moment. I did everything to get there. I’m very close to it but we’ll have to wait a bit longer to know if I’m going. The next step will be to think about the medal.

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