You should never turn your back on your destiny. This same back that allowed Axel Bourlon to embrace a path that was not promised. “Basically, I had no intention of becoming a weightlifter. I started swimming to learn to swim and develop my upper back muscles ”, says the athlete, who is about to play his first Paralympic Games in Tokyo, at the age of 30.
In 2005, her unique career took on a first Paralympic accent, when she met weightlifter Martine Servajean, two Games on the clock (Sydney, in 2000, and Athens, in 2004). The scene takes place in the forum of associations in Roanne (Loire), his birthplace. The then vice president of the city’s disabled sports club recalls: “I knew that his handicap category was suitable for weightlifting, where athletes have shorter arms than normal. I first offered to build muscle so that she would lift small loads and strengthen her back. ” You will combine the two activities for several months, before finally turning to weight liftingand the bench press in 2006. “He quickly took over. In the end, I still can’t swim well ”, jokes the person who competes on Thursday, August 26.
A record at 161 kilos
His handicap is in fourteen letters: achondroplasia, another term for dwarfism, “A pretty harsh word” for Axel Bourlon, who is the only member of his family who was born with this “Pseudo-difference”. “I have always lived it well, I have always tried to mix with the healthy ones”, Details the athlete of 1.40 meters. “It would have the ability to compete with the healthy, but the ‘flexums’ are not accepted among the healthy”, develops Martine Servajean.
Flexum is the pathology that prevents Axel Bourlon from fully stretching his forearms in the terminal phase of the barbell lift. An evil that did not allow him to compete outside the French borders at the beginning of his career. “Global regulations required a maximum flex of 20 degrees, which prevented me from doing some competitions. Fortunately, the rule has evolved. Now it is enough to mention it before the competition ”, details the weightlifter. You will have to wait until 2018 to participate in international competitions, with a second place in the European Championships.
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