First French medals at the Paralympic Winter Games in China

Tricolor skiing made a remarkable entrance at the Paralympic Winter Games, which opened on Friday March 4, and until the 13th, in Beijing and in the surrounding mountains.

It was skier Arthur Bauchet who opened the ball for French medals on Saturday 5 March. The 21-year-old sportsman brought France his first title in the competition, in gold moreover, in the downhill event (standing category).
“It’s crazy! Hearing the Marseillaise, everyone comes for that”rejoiced the young skier, originally from the Var and licensed at the Briançon club (Hautes-Alpes). A great confirmation for the man who is already multiple world ski champion and who won four silver medals at the Pyeongchang Paralympics in 2018.

He is ahead of Austrian Markus Salcher and Swiss Theo Gmueré.

Beginnings in athletics

Downhill still, but in the visually impaired category: a few hours later, another French skier, Hyacinthe Deleplace, won bronze for France. Associated with his guide Valentin Giraud-Moine, the native of Villeurbanne was preceded by the Austrian Johannes Aigner, gold medalist, and the Canadian Mac Marcoux.

“I would have liked to do better. Only, I didn’t put all the ingredients that I could put two days ago (during training). And it feels direct”, reacted Hyacinthe Deleplace after the race. The 32-year-old had won three gold medals at the world championships in Lillehammer this year.

Even if he only reached the third step of the podium, this medal once again confirms the success of his sporting retraining. A specialist in athletics for a long time, he notably won two junior world championship titles in the 100 and 400 meters in 2007. “I started this project [de reconversion] to live those moments. I’m a little disappointed, but happy nonetheless.”he said on Saturday.

At the end of the day on Saturday, China is at the top of the medal list (all metals combined) with 8 titles, followed closely by Ukraine (7 titles). These games are held, like the Olympic Games for able-bodied athletes the previous month, in a health bubble while Beijing applies a zeto-Covid policy.


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