Home Heroes: French teams to break new ground at Paris 2024

The upcoming Paris 2024 Paralympic Games hold special significance for the French men’s and women’s sitting volleyball teams as they make their historic debut on home soil. Competing from August 29 to September 7 at the North Paris Arena, these home squads are not just playing for medals, they are playing to inspire and uplift a nation.

Over the past few years, the men’s and women’s teams have embarked on extensive preparations, participating in numerous European and world events. The men’s team made notable strides at the 2023 WPV Sitting Volleyball World Cup in Cairo, Egypt, finishing 10th with three impressive wins. The women’s team, despite finishing last at the 2024 WPV Women’s Super 6 in Nancy, gained invaluable experience facing some of the best teams they will encounter in Paris next month.

The competition, for sure, will be fierce. The men’s team is placed in Pool A alongside Rio 2016 bronze medallists Egypt, multi-Paralympic medallists Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Asian powerhouse Kazakhstan. Meanwhile, the women’s team finds itself in Pool A with the reigning back-to-back gold medallists United States, three-time Paralympic gold medallists China, and European champions Italy.

Integral to this journey is the “La Relève” programme, a pioneering initiative aimed at discovering and nurturing future Paralympic athletes. Since its inception, La Relève has worked in conjunction with the French Volleyball Federation to identify and train athletes for high-level competition. This programme has not only produced top athletes but also contributed significantly to the development of sitting volleyball across France.

The impact of the programme is evident in the composition of the national teams. Eight members of the French squads, including Matthieu Jagu, Thibaut Lefrançois, Benjamin Pillerault, Jean-Christophe Rambeau, Damien Roget, and Samou Soumaro for the men, and Sylvanie Logello for the women, were discovered through this programme.

As the host nation, France’s sitting volleyball teams are directly qualified for the Paralympics, marking their first-ever participation in this discipline at the Games. These teams are pioneers, not just in their sport, but in their mission to inspire a new generation of athletes and fans alike. With just weeks until the Games, the focus for the French teams is on continuous improvement and readiness to compete at the highest level.

As France prepares to welcome the world to the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games, the men’s and women’s sitting volleyball teams stand ready to showcase their skills, determination, and the spirit of a nation. With the support of their home fans, they aim to leave a mark on the Games and the sport.