Handi table tennis: how the Var table tennis player Fabien Lamirault reinvented himself to stay on top of the world

If, according to the sports dictionary, “we do not change a winning team”, Fabien Lamirault, meanwhile, “changes a winning racket”. A paid choice.

With this, the table tennis player from Nans-les-Pins, licensed at Marseille Provence TTH, won a third world title in disabled table tennis (class 2, wheelchair) in mid-November in Granada, Spain.

“Keep Learning”

“Before, I used a long pimple (rather defensive covering allowing to counter the opponent’s ball by reversing the effects) in the reverse. From now on, I put a soft (short pimple). My game has completely changed in the reverse axisanalyzes the 42-year-old Varois.

“I can vary my balls a lot more. I found that with my old equipment, with which I had been playing for eight years, I had gone to the end of my ideas. I was no longer able to progress too much, I was going around in circles. And I also wanted to enjoy myself at the table while always keeping the hope of continuing to learn.”

A judicious change, allowing him in particular to be more aggressive, by finishing certain points more quickly with more rectilinear trajectories.

“There is less holding the ball, playing ground gains to push the opponent to make a mistake. Especially since the nature of my inverted ball was known and integrated on the side of my competitors. Now it’s less the case”he summarizes.

But even for a champion of this caliber, it was necessary to dare this change. Knowing that since 2014, Fabien Lamirault has won almost all the individual and team crowns. The first in the world ranking and double Paralympic champion in title again beat the Polish Rafal Czuper (2nd) in the final.

But unlike that of the last Games won three sets to two, he won this one three sets to nothing. “It was still a close battle despite everything [11-9, 11-8, 11-9] where we both played well”he believes.

“We meet very often in the finals of major competitions. It was the sixth time (two European, two World and two Paralympic finals) and I had the achievement of all victories. So I have an undeniable psychological ascendancy.”

“Wind of Freshness”

Only small false note: his elimination in mixed doubles (7 pts) with Alexandra Saint-Pierre (gold medalist in class 5, armchair) as soon as they entered the running. But their potential is nevertheless strong for 2023, but also for the Paris Games in 2024.

Just like that of a renewed French team which had never seen so many tricolors in the final of the individual tables – five – since 2002.

“Even if the Chinese delegation was absent because of Covid-19, there is a good generation of young people between 18 and 25 who are coming to expand the team. It does us good and brings us a breath of fresh air”he finished.

A freshness that he has already found himself by changing the pins of his racket.

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