Le padel is definitely a sport that almost everyone can practice together, regardless of their age, gender, physical characteristics or disability. The proof was successfully made this Friday, March 8 at 4Padel of Saint Louis, in Alsace, which hosted an original initiative: bringing together players with atypical profiles during a festive and inclusive evening.

In a wheelchair or more than 2 meters away

“We wanted to show that wheelchair players can coexist harmoniously on the track with all types of able-bodied players,” explains Jérôme Arnoux, instructor-trainee at 4Padel. We therefore invited people over 2 meters tall, others very “strong”, those under 10 years old or over 80 years old. Without forgetting the ladies, who to date only represent 15% of practitioners of padel in France, even though this sport has everything to please them. »

A French first?

“To our knowledge, this is the first time in France that such a casting was found on the tracks of padel », rejoices Philippe Tschiember, director of the Saint-Louis sports complex. The 4Padel therefore played the game by making its facilities available free of charge for an evening dedicated to play and good humor.

Around Sébastien Husser-Walther and Tony Boval, two players who are members of the French team padel-armchair (*), wild matches took place between the twenty participants divided into four teams. Another area was devoted to games of skill, power or precision.

A smash at 116 km/h… at 72 years old

A radar loaned by the store Tennis Pro of Saint-Louis for example made it possible to time the fastest and slowest smashes: we will remember that it was a 72-year-old player, Bernard Mlaskot, who was flashed the fastest, at 116 km/h. Enough to make Romain Fostier jealous, nicknamed “la bestia” (“the beast”) in Spain because of his power, but who did not exceed 113 km/h this Friday!

As for the oldest member of the assembly, Sébastien Flores, 80 years old, he reached the remarkable speed of 102 km/h. Conversely, the “velvet hand” of the evening belongs to Antoine Rolando: this 16-year-old boy, born with only one hand, showed himself to be the most delicate with a smash at 15 km/h!

“I can’t feel my arms anymore”

In another activity, all participants were able to try one of the two sports wheelchairs loaned by the Grand Est League : they were thus able to experience the difficulty of riding on a synthetic turf pitch and the significant physical expenditure that this entails. “I can't feel my arms anymore,” exclaimed Romain “la bestia” after only three minutes of practice.

Fortunately, after the effort, comfort was provided around a friendly drink offered by the Haut-Rhin Tennis Committee. Its president Jean-Gabriel Walliser also came to greet the players in a friendly manner, including the president of the brand new Commission padel from Haut-Rhin, Patrice Belloy.

(*) The French team of padel is bronze medalist of the world championships padel-armchair organized in 2023 in Madrid.

After 40 years of tennis, Jérôme falls into the pot of padel in 2018. Since then, he thinks about it every morning while shaving… but never shaves pala in hand! Journalist in Alsace, he has no other ambition than to share his passion with you, whether you speak French, Italian, Spanish or English.