Paris 2024 Paralympic Games: “Occitanie is the leader in disabled sports clubs but there remain white areas”

Paris 2024 Paralympic Games: “Occitanie is the leader in disabled sports clubs but there remain white areas”

Captain of the French wheelchair rugby team, Jonathan Hivernat is one of the chances of regional medals at the Paralympic Games.a Concorde MAXPPP – Bruno Levesque

A day-100 before the Paralympic Games, Bernard Darrées, President of the Occitanie disabled sports committee, draws up the map of a leading region in terms of practice but where great efforts remain to be made, particularly in rural areas.

Is the Occitanie region among the most dynamic in terms of disabled sports??

With 3200 licensees, we are in 3rd place. And we are leaders in terms of clubs certified by our federation with 216 structures in our 13 departments. They are mainly located in metropolises or administrative centers. We would like to be able to cover the white areas more.

Is this mainly linked to a mobility problem?

There is that and also the specificity of our public which comes very much from the medico-social environment and stays at home a lot. The difficulty is both being able to reach people and being able to help set up associative structures that allow regular practice.

Paris 2024 Paralympic Games: “Occitanie is the leader in disabled sports clubs but there remain white areas”

Bernard Darrées, president of the Occitanie disabled sports committee Occitanie Disabled Sports Committee

We still lack specific facilities ?

There is the problem of accessibility, obviously, although since the law of February 11, 2005, the developments are moving in the right direction. Afterwards, it’s the overuse of slots that can pose a problem. People who are very dependent on transport assistance services will especially be able to practice during the day and these slots are already widely used by schools.

What types of financing can help you?

There is an envelope of 5 million euros available from the national sports agency, which allows the financing of accessibility of infrastructure. At the same time, the Occitanie region offers a co-financing scheme for the acquisition of equipment specific to the sporting practice of disabled people. This will help democratize it.

A campaign launched for ticketing

On day 100 of the Paralympic Games, only 900,000 tickets, or a third, have been sold, the majority purchased by communities.

Paris 2024 therefore rings the bell for “mobilization”, through a campaign to promote the event by three big names in disabled sports, including Montpellier athlete Arnaud Assoumani.

Spots whose slogan is "we're missing nothing, except you". The only problem is that this campaign should largely be localized in the Paris region and broadcast on France Télévision is not a given.

"In London, more than 80% of Paralympic tickets were purchased by locals", the organizers argue. Tickets are available on the website Many places from 15 to 25 euros are on sale. There is also some left for the opening ceremony.

These Paris Paralympic Games will be a turning point?

We clearly hope that this will be a big booster. For the first time the Games will be broadcast in full by France Télévision. The message to get across is that you have to flourish in your sporting practice. At the beginning of September, the summer holidays will be over, we will have plenty of time to enjoy the games. We will see from the start of the sports season if there has been an effect. In addition, this year, sport has been declared a great national cause. This is the priority of the regional sports conference chaired by Kamel Chibli. He wants to develop the assessment of the physical condition of all young people, and in particular young people with disabilities. However, we are behind in young people's participation in sports.

How to explain it?

This is already a problem with the onset of disability because 70% occurs after the age of 15. Then it is true that for the youngest, the days are already busy between physiotherapy and school. Sports practice can take a back seat.

Paris 2024 Paralympic Games: “Occitanie is the leader in disabled sports clubs but there remain white areas”

The map of the Paralympic Games sites, in and around Paris. Midi Libre – Antoine Llop

What are our chances of regional medals?

We have 41 athletes registered on the high-level lists. We hope for half of that at the Games while being optimistic. Today, we have 8 sure selections but the selections run until the end of July. Our four rugby players can hope for a medal and we are betting a lot on the Toulouse swimmer Ugo Didier who won 4 medals at the last world championships. A bit of our Guillaume Marchand!

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