Paris 2024 Paralympic Games: after three bronze medals, Toulouse fencer Maxime Valet in search of gold

Paris 2024 Paralympic Games: after three bronze medals, Toulouse fencer Maxime Valet in search of gold

Maxime Valet, high-level fencer and sports doctor at Creps de Toulouse. MAXPPP/La Dépêche – MICHEL VIALA

Paraplegic since a fall in 2009, the sports doctor has accumulated European and world podiums in disabled fencing. He put everything on his side to win the Grail during his last Olympic challenge.

"I have three bronze medals. I'd like the next one to shine a little brighter…” Gold at the Paris Paralympic Games would be the best high point for the prestigious career of Maxime Valet.

The 36-year-old fencer from Toulouse, loaded with medals (including two European titles and a world team title) is sharpening his preparation to sharpen all his chances in this latest challenge, a story of "close the loop". And to obtain the most beautiful revenge on this damn destiny which had plunged him into an abyss of uncertainty. A fall in a construction hole which left him paraplegic in 2009.

20 hours of training per week

"Olympic preparation involves choices, daily investments, professional and family sacrifices. I've been doing this for a while and priorities are changing", explains the man who is also a sports doctor at Creps de Toulouse. Not necessarily a plus for the preparation "because there are no facilities for fencing at Creps but the fact of rubbing shoulders with high-level athletes on a daily basis creates emulation. We are all working together towards a common goal."

Also read: Me president – Maxime Valet, fencer, medalist at the Rio Paralympic Games

In terms of sacrifices and training time, Maxime, engaged in foil and sabre, considers his preparation similar to that of the able-bodied, "currently closer to 20  hours per week with a build-up to one or two training sessions per day before the games."

Preparation for Insep with valid students

A robust program with courses bringing together Paralympic fencers every three weeks (Fréjus, Talence, Insep…). "Financially, the situation of Paralympic athletes has evolved in the right direction, welcomes Maxime. Subsidies from the National Sports Agency help us a lot. Athletes who have chances of medals are clearly identified and supported. I also have the advantage of having a significant track record and private partners who help me find the little extras to train better."

In particular the Banque populaire occitane and L’Oréal who have integrated the Toulousain into their "team" Olympic. Like all Paralympic athletes, Maxime Valet appreciates "the desire to create a single French team with a common logo" but also all the new "bridges" created between able-bodied and disabled athletes: &amp ;quot;We are going to prepare for the games at Insep with Olympic athletes and that’s great. We need each other to progress. There were fewer connections before. Things are moving in the right direction."

Four medals brought back from Euro 2024

Like the media coverage of the Paralympics, which had shuddered during the Rio Games with around ten hours to jump to around a hundred during the 2024 edition (August 28 & ndash; September 8. "The more we are exposed, the more there will be practitioners, sponsors and structures for the Paralympic disciplines",< /em> rejoices Maxime Valet. "This also makes it possible to organize competitions at home such as the recent Euro fencing in Paris, where the’ we feel stronger."

The Toulousain won four new medals, two in silver, two in bronze. The gold is long overdue. Like a sparkling moon to be seen in the clear sky of Paris.

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