Paralympics for French defence athletes

Fourteen athletes from the French defence ministry are taking part in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games whose events started yesterday, 8 September. This is an unprecedented rate of participation accounting for 11% of the whole French delegation compared to Beijing 2008 when there was only one impaired athlete from the defence ministry and in London 2012 when there were only five.

The flag carrier and “cheer-leader” in chief is Michaël Jérémiasz, a four times medal winner in wheelchair tennis. Like all the other defence athletes, except for one, Jérémiasz is a civilian contract employee of the defence ministry. The only athlete with a military status is Rémy Boulle who is an air force corporal and a canoeist.

The athletes all come under one of the following three major handicap categories:

  • Physically handicapped : amputees, with lesions to the spinal column, cerebral palsy, etc.
  • Blind and visually impaired
  • Mentally handicapped: significant intellectual alteration indicated by an I.Q. of under 75 detected before the athlete’s 18th birthday.

To compete on a fair basis, the athletes are classified by medical and technical staff who evaluate the impact of their impairment on a given sport. A classification system is thus established for each sport according to its specificities and of the consequences of the handicap on the athlete’s functional capacities in terms of movement, coordination and balance, more than by type of impairment.

Categories are designated by a letter, generally the initial of the sport  (S for swimming, T pour track for example) and a figure from 1 (the heaviest handicap) to 10 (the lightest).

Deaf or hard of hearing athletes do not take part in the Paralympic Games. They come under the aegis of the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD) which organises the Deaflympics, the next edition of which will be held from 17-21 July 2017 in Samsun, Turkey.

Here is the list of the French Rio 2016 Paralympic Defence athletes, their events and their handicap category:


Michaël Jérémiasz, 34 ans, tennis fauteuil, simple et double. Il a gagné la médaille d'or en double à Beijing en 2008, Champion du monde par équipe en 2016, 2012 et 2009. (Crédit photo: FTTennis)

Michaël Jérémiasz, 34, wheelchair tennis, singles and doubles. He won the Olympic gold medal in Beijing in 2008, and the team World Championships in 2016, 2012 and 2009. A skiing accident in 2000 left him paraplegic. (Photo credit: FFT)

Stéphane Bahier, 41 ans, triathlon, courte distance, qui est une nouvelle épreuve au programme des Jeux Paralympiques de Rio 2016 comportant un 750m de natation en eaux libres, 20km de cyclisme contre la montre et 5km de course à pied. Catégorie PT2 (athlètes debout). Champion du monde 2013, vice-champion d'Europe en titre.

Stéphane Bahier, 41, short distance triathlon, a new event at the Rio 2016 Paralympics, entailing swimming 750m in open waters, cycling for 20km and running for 5km. Category PT2 (athletes who can stand). 2013 World Champion, reigning European vice-champion. Right-leg amputated in 2004 following a car crash.

Mathieu Bosredon, 25 ans, cyclisme-handbike, course en ligne, course contre la montre. Médaillé de bronze de course en ligne aux Championnats du monde 2015.

Mathieu Bosredon, 25, handbike, road race and time trial. Bronze-medallist at the 2015 time trial World Championships. Paraplegic since the age of four following a stroke.

Rémy Boulle, 28 ans, canoë kayak, sprint KL1 (athlètes n'ayant pas ou peu l'usage des jambes), Vice-champion d'Europe 2016.

Rémy Boullé, 28, canoeing, sprint KL1 (athletes who have no or limited use of their legs), reigning European vice-champion. Paraplegic since 2014 following a parachuting accident.

Cédric Fevre Chevalier, 32 ans, tir, carabine 10m et 50m. Catégorie SH1 (handicap fonctionnel). Champion olympique en titre au 10m couché. (Crédit photo: Ministère de la Défense)

Cédric Fevre Chevalier, 32, shooting, air-rifle 10m and 50m. Category SH1 (functional impairment). Reigning Olympic 10m prone Champion. Born with Spina Bifida.

Stéphane Houdet, 45 ans, tennis fauteuil, simple et double. N° 1 mondial par équipe en 2016, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010 et 2009. Vice-champion Olympique en titre en simple.

Stéphane Houdet, 45, wheelchair tennis, singles and doubles. World N° 1 2016, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010 and 2009 in the team event. Reigning Singles Olympic vice-champion. A motorbike accident in 1996 rendered his left knee inoperable and in 2004 he had his left leg amputated.

Yannick Ifebe, 24 ans, escrime, épée individuel et par équipe, catégorie B (sans équilibre du tronc). Champion du monde par équipe 2015, Champion d'Europe en individuel en titre.

Yannick Ifebe, 24, fencing, épée individual and team, category B (impairment that impacts the legs as well as the trunk or the fencing arm). 2015 World team Champion and reigning individual European Champion.

Gwladys Lemoussu, 27 ans, triathlon, courte distance (voir sous Stéphane Bahier). Catégorie PT4 (athlètes debout). Vice-championne du monde en titre, médaillée de bronze aux Championnats d'Europe 2016.

Gwladys Lemoussu, 27, short distance triathlon (see under Stéphane Bahier). Category PT4 (athletes who can stand). Reigning Vice World Champion, bronze medallist at the 2016 European Championships.

Elodie Lorandi, 27 ans, natation, nage libre 50m, 100m et 400m. Catégorie S10. Vice-Championne d'Europe 400m nage libre, vice-championne d'Europe 50m et 100m nage libre. Vice-championne du monde 400m nage libre 2015, Championne du monde 400m nage libre 2014.

Elodie Lorandi, 27, swimming, freestyle 50m, 100m and 400m. Category S10. Vice European 400m, 100m and 50m freestyle Champion, 2015 Vice World 400m freestyle Champion, 2014 World freestyle Champion. Left leg partially paralysed from birth.

Elise Marc, 28 ans, triathlon, courte distance (voir sous Stéphane Bahier). Catégorie PT2 (athlètes debout). Championne d'Europe en titre.

Elise Marc, 28, short distance triathlon (see under Stéphane Bahier). Category PT2 (athletes who can stand). Reigning European Champion.

Cyndy Moreau, 32 ans, canoë kayak, sprint KL3 (athlètes ayant une fonction partielle des jambes), Championne d'Europe 2015, vice-championne du monde 2014 et d'Europe 2016 et 2014, médaillée de bronze aux Championnats du monde 2015 et 2013.

Cindy Moreau, 32, canoeing, sprint KL3 (athletes with partial leg movement), 2015 European Champion, 2014 Vice World Champion and 2016 and 2014 Vice European Champion, bronze medallist at the World Championships in 2015 and 2013.

Nicolas Peifer, 25 ans, tennis fauteuil, simple et double. Champion du monde par équipe en 2016, 2014, 2013, 2012 et 2009. Vice-champion olympique en titre en double.

Nicolas Peifer, 25, wheelchair tennis, singles and doubles. World Champion in 2016, 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2009 in the team event. Reigning doubles Vice Olympic Champion.

Charles Rozoy, 29 ans, natation, 50m nage libre, 100m brasse, 100m papillon, 200m 4 nages. Catégorie S8. Champion Olympique en titre 100m papillon. Vice-champion du monde 2015 100m papillon, champion d'Europe 2014 100m papillon, vice-champion d'Europe 100m papillon en titre.

Charles Rozoy, 29, swimming, 50m freestyle, 100m breaststroke, 100m butterfly, 200m medley. Category S8. Reigning Olympic 100m butterfly Champion. 2015 Vice World 100m butterfly Champion, 2014 European 100m butterfly Champion, reigning European Vice 100m butterfly Champion.

Moussa Tambadou, 24 ans, athlétisme, saut en longueur T38. Vice-champion d'Europe en titre.

Moussa Tambadou, 24, athletics, longjump T38. Reigning Vice European Champion.