Ukrainian refugees gathered at the Alain Achille gymnasium thanks to the sports educators of Montpellier

Thanks to the work of the city’s sports educators, Ukrainian refugees from Montpellier were able to learn table tennis and meet champions of this sport.

On Saturday morning, around twenty Ukrainian refugees crossed paths with Félix Lebrun, table tennis champion, at the Alain Achille gymnasium. This timeless moment was made possible by the exceptional work of two sports educators from the City of Montpellier: Laëtitia Tonazzi and Michaël Marta.

At the beginning of July, the multisport courses organized by the Town Hall are going well at Parc Montcalm. The young Mark, a Ukrainian aged about ten, is registered but stands out for his shyness. Not speaking the French language, it is impossible to communicate with him.

“These people were smiling”

Fortunately, Yulia, coach at Montpellier Table Tennis, is present and manages to create a bond with Mark. The child then begins to play with others. “Everything has changed thanks to communication, rejoices Michaël Marta. We then wanted to set up a project to bring together these Ukrainians from Montpellier through sport.”

In collaboration with the Montpellier table tennis club and the SOS Montpellier Ukraine association, it was decided to organize a sports initiation last Saturday at the Alain Achille gymnasium. “When we arrived on Saturday morning, we didn’t know how many people were going to come.explains Hervé Martin, Deputy Mayor in charge of sports. We were pleasantly surprised to see the children come with their parents. These people were smiling. You have to know that they left their country, their property behind them. They shared a great family moment. What our two educators have done is brilliant, I want to emphasize that.”

“That moment was magical”

On top of the market, the Ukrainian delegation had the chance to meet Félix Lebrun, a young table tennis player who is part of the world’s gratin and is the pride of Montpellier, but also two Brazilian players on stage in the Hérault. “He’s the Mbappé of table tennis, exclaims Hervé Martin. They were amazed to see him. That moment was magical.”

All these beautiful people do not intend to stop there. The Montpellier club has already invited the Ukrainians to attend a professional table tennis match. The educators are already thinking about organizing multi-sport courses for these people who have left everything to flee the war.

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