At the age of 21, Lucas Mazur of France is already a world No.1 ranked badminton player in the men’s singles Standing Lower (SL4) category, and is second in the Race to Tokyo 2020 standings.
Having suffered a stroke at the age of three which caused cerebral damage and affected his right side, specifically his right foot, has not stopped him from pursuing his athletic dreams.
Mazur, who as a child wanted to be a fireman, started playing football at six then switched to badminton at the age of 12. “I found my true self through badminton because it reveals a part of me that I never knew before,” said Mazur who was recruited to the French team in 2014.
Athleticism runs in the family. His mother played basketball in the French league while his father was a table tennis player. “One of my brothers plays rugby for the Poland team. My oldest brother is a mechanical engineer who lives in Portland, USA,” said Mazur, who is the youngest of three boys.
Mazur cites his “clique”, comprising family and a few close friends, as having a positive influence in his life. Coach Sandrine Bernard is among them. “Sandrine is a huge support. She helped me change the way I play badminton and improve my game.”
While his badminton career is picking up speed, Mazur has not given up his dreams of becoming a football player someday. “Maybe after I’m done with badminton,” said Mazur, who currently juggles his time between sports and pursuing studies in finance and economics.
Now, however, with the possibility of two Paralympic medals on the horizon, Mazur’s focus is on the TOTAL BWF Para-Badminton World Championships 2019 in Basel and the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. He is on track for medals in men’s singles (SL4) and in mixed doubles (SL/SU) with partner Faustine Noel.
According to Mazur, a couple of obstacles stand in his way – Tarun Tarun and Suhas Lalinakere Yathiraj of India.
Mazur sees Suhas’s movements as almost elastic as he has the ability to move around the court very fast. On the other hand, Tarun is a creative player. “He is able to fake moves which can deceive me into going the wrong way,” he explained.
However, standing at 192cm in height is an advantage that Mazur puts to good use. “My size allows me to attack from the back of the court and put pressure at the net. Every day I train to improve my skills at the net. For me, that’s the key to improving my game,” he explained.