Retired Canadian wheelchair fence star… at 23

Chai was the coaching partner of Sylvie Morell, the 64-year-old foil player who recently represented Canada at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

When I arrived and saw a selfie [Morel]Pierre [Mainville] and Matthew [Hébert]I noticed that the new generation was me, mentions the person who is now a speaker and facilitator.

Chubby [Rousell] Not there yet. I knew some young athletes came before me, but they didn’t last. I was like, there is a problem somewhere.

Quote from:Camille Chai, former wheelchair fencer

The former assistant athlete soon realized that there were many obstacles for those who aspire to fulfill the dream of the disabled in wheelchair duel. She could not count on the hoped-for support from her union.

Frankly, I felt the lack of oversight by the union. There was little follow-up. I felt left to myself. The coach does not appear to be trained to work with Paralympic athletes. He even seemed uninterested at timesChai describes.

Added to this is the financial stake, a burden that affects all amateur sports, but which can be difficult to drag into the world of Paralympics.

Some additional costs are added in the awnings. A competition wheelchair can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000. We’re paying that out of our pocket, and that’s the big extra cost. In addition to this, major competitions, especially in Asia and Europe, are added, recalls Sylvie Morell.

Chai specifies that fencing entails the frequent and sometimes unexpected purchase of new equipment, a few weeks before the competitions. These unexpected purchases soon piled up on her credit card when she was a semi-athletic.

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And in all this, we must think about the logistical aspect of transportation, and identifies the young woman, the amputee of both legs and the right arm. Fencing is not badminton. There is material to carry around, it is not easy to reduce one leg and one arm. Thanks to Veterans Mateo [Hébert]Pierre [Mainville] and selfie [Morel]who helped me navigate.

Because despite his disability, Chai says he can’t count on any resource to help him on his travels outside the province.

he hit me. Once, I was alone at the airport, and had to stop people in the parking lot to help me carry my equipment.

Quote from:Camille Chai, former wheelchair fencer

People saw me in uniform, and said to me: “you are not Team Canada, You are? Where is your coach? You have no one to help you”. Well, no.

This burden became heavy for him to bear physically, psychologically and financially.

Camille Chai getting ready to warm up

Photo: Courtesy: Chantale Lecours

When I was training, I wanted a reserved, paid parking spot, not far from the National Sports Institute of Quebec so I could move my equipment more easily. My requests remained dead on paper, until I told the union: I left. There they said, “It’s okay, we’ll pay for your parking. It’s too late for me, you remember.

Chai ended her career when she was at the top. At the age of 23, she was one of the top prospects in the National Fencing Federation. How could they have given up on it, knowing that the athletes’ core was also aging? A question that leaves the main topic in question unanswered.

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I do not know. That’s why I’m answering you today with a knot in my throat. My heart hurts when I think about it because in another world, I’ll be in Tokyo today, with Sylvie and the othersQuebecer Corporation announces.

At Union, the current managing director, David Howes, was not in the position when Chai left. However, he is aware of the gaps within the organisation.

I don’t think the people in our sport have made a conscious effort to recruit potential fencing walkers, he admits. Obviously, we don’t like to see people who are likely to quit the sport.

He and his team are developing a sports track for wheelchair fencing. They also want to improve the training of trainers who specialize in fencing.

There will be many challenges to overcome in order to renew Amal Al Ittihad Bank.

You sit among the fencing equipment.

Camille Chai had to carry her gear herself during her years as a fencer.

Photo: Courtesy of Camille Chai

Morrell explains that just getting to know a wheelchair fence can be a form of engagement that frightens some people.

Our current system leaves no room for entertainment or recreation. When you start in Canada, your first competitions are international. There is no regional or even US setting. that it bubbleGo and shoot against world champions!

Quote from:Sylvie Morell, wheelchair duel

A vicious cycle that Morell would like to help break once his sword is permanently suspended.

There is scope for software development in Canada. There is a way to do something. I’ve talked about this in the past. This is something I won’t neglect when I retire, Emphasizes.

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The federation also plans to incorporate the fencing component into the training sessions in order to develop the sport.

In the meantime, the presence of Morell and his compatriots at the Tokyo Paralympic Games may be enough to give young women and men a chance to learn more about fencing.

Which is why Muriel keeps fighting.

She is in front of her opponent.

Camille Chai has participated in competitions on the international scene for several years.

Photo: Enya Bird Productions

Howes and Chai unanimously agree on this point, and having veterans like Sylvie Morel, Matthieu Hébert and Pierre Mainville on the big stage, at their age, can only help.

We need our veterans like selfie [Morel]Pierre [Mainville] and Matthew [Hébert] To recruit people, and perhaps also to train them, says Howes.

Seeing their age, where they are, shows that it is possible to withstand and that it is not too late to exercise. It is very encouragingChai says.

It can really inspire succession. Only they remain. It reminds me of how this sport has taught me so much on a personal and athletic level. If the Federation had set up a structure, a part of me said to myself that… my heart is still there, it must be in Tokyo. I’m not saying I won’t do anything in the future, we have to make this sport shine. But I need help.

Quote from:Camille Chai, former wheelchair fencer

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