Lucas Mazur was the star of France’s incredible showing at the European Para Games 2023 which concluded yesterday in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
The SL4 men’s singles Tokyo 2020 Paralympic champion contested three finals and won all to help his country finish top of the Para badminton medal table with seven gold, five silver and nine bronze.
He later defeated Nilsson 21-5 21-12 for SL4 singles gold before capping his remarkable day with success in SU5 men’s doubles with Meril Loquette.
“It’s a huge day for us (France) because we got a lot of gold medals, silver and bronze. We are very happy we got to this level because years ago we started from nothing,” said Mazur.
Loquette added gold No.4 with a 21-11 21-13 win over Bartłomiej Mroz in SU5 men’s singles before Guillaume Gailly/Mathieu Thomas (SL3-SL4 men’s doubles), Maud Lefort (SU5 women’s singles) and Lefort/Coraline Bergeron (SL3-SU5 women’s doubles) completed the haul for France.
On having his family support him at the Games, Loquette joked: “A lot of stress but it’s good, because if I qualify for Paris 2024 (Olympics) all my family and friends will be there. It’s good training for the stress (laughs).”
Meanwhile, 59-year-old Thomas Wandschneider, who last year became the oldest Para badminton world champion, took home two gold medals – in WH1 men’s singles and WH1-WH2 men’s doubles with Rick Cornell Hellmann.
“It’s crazy. I’m nearly 60 and I’m a double European champion. It feels very good,” said the German. “Now I’m the oldest player to win the European Games title.”
Hellman also clinched the WH2 singles gold.
“I was planning on getting two medals, absolutely. That was my big aim. I’m happy it worked out,” he said.