France sitting volleyball athlete Benjamin Lacroix-Desmazes is among the first 14 torchbearers revealed to carry the Olympic and Paralympic flame in Calvados, selected by the Department of Calvados and the Cities of Caen and Deauville.
“Very proud to carry this symbolic flame in my hometown on May 30th! Thank you Caen and Calvados for your trust and support in my Paralympic journey to Paris 2024,” he posted on his Facebook page.
The 10 torchbearers include Para athletes Lucile Razet and Lacroix-Desmazes, who will carry the Olympic flame in Calvados on May 30. Others who were selected are Maxime Wille, Eyeru Gebru, Martial Fesselier, Svetlana Mintova-Lazarova, SoLiCe, Flavie Renouard, Maelyn Michel and David Kandelaki.
Four torchbearers were selected by the Department and the City of Deauville for the Paralympic Flame Relay on August 26, which includes Anne d’Ornano, Pierre-Louise Attwell, Sacha Tatrou Wandji Ben Samoun and Pierre Santos.
Lacroix-Desmazes, a native of Caen, will be carrying the name of his hometown as he represents France at the Paralympic Games in Paris this August.
He has spent half of his life as a leg amputee after a train incident at Villenave d’Ornon in the city of Bordeaux when he was a student.
After three complicated months of rehabilitation in Bruges, he received a lot of support and encouragement from his family and friends. He then was able to complete his studies and became a physiotherapist but was also able to continue his passion for sports.
He used swimming to rehabilitate and then took up Para Athletics, running the 100m and 200m on a prosthesis and doing half-marathons until be became the country’s two-time vice-champion in Para triathlon.
“Sport allows me to let off steam, to feel good in my head. You are alone with yourself. You can take stock of your life and keep pushing yourself to the limits,” said Lacroix-Desmazes on his interview with actu.fr.
But he thrived especially in team sport, especially with a background in volleyball, it was easy for him to transition to sitting volleyball. He started in 2017 and a couple of months later, became a member of the national team and he has never left the team since then.
“It’s even more tactical and technical than volleyball because the rallies are faster. It plays a lot on reflexes,” he said.
The French skipper hopes to showcase the team’s development after competing in European and World ParaVolley competitions.
“The French team was created with this in mind. At the Games, we want to show our progress and our spirit to fight for each point. The important thing is that we can look other nations in the eye now.”
Photo: ParaVolley Europe