French long jumper Assoumani ready for "most exciting" World Championships in history

France's five-time Paralympian Arnaud Assoumani says, "It’s going to be the first time we will have so many people in the crowd, assisting and cheering for French athletes while also discovering Para sport." 07 Jul 2023
A male long jumper lands his jump at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
Assoumani has won five Paralympic medals, including one gold medal.
ⒸAdam Pretty/Getty Images

Five-time Paralympian Arnaud Assoumani has dreamed of competing at a Paralympic Games in France for years, imagining what it is like to enter a stadium full of people in his home country.

For Assoumani and hundreds of others aiming to compete in Para athletics at the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games, the Para Athletics World Championships taking place between 8 and 17 July 2023 will serve as the most important stop on the road to the Games.

Party in Paris

The 10-day World Championships in Charlety Stadium will feature 168 medal events and serve as a qualifier for next year’s Paralympic Games.

“The World Championships are going to be really exciting – maybe one of the most exciting in the history of Para sport and also for the French team," Assoumani said.

“It’s going to be the first time we will have so many people in the crowd, assisting and cheering for French athletes while also discovering Para sport.”

Assoumani competed in the men's long jump T47 at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. @Adam Pretty/Getty Images

The five-time Paralympic medallist will compete in the men's long jump T47 on 13 July, the sixth day of the competition.

More than 100,000 tickets have been purchased, and the Paralympic champion hopes spectators will “live and share emotions” by watching top athletes compete.

“If you are a kid, if you are a teenager, even if you are an adult, you will experience this World Championships for the first time. I know you will remember this for the rest of your life,” he said. “The tournament will have a strong and positive impact.”

Meet the French team

Around 30 athletes will represent the French team at the World Championships, with four-time Paralympic medallist Nantenin Keita serving as team captain. The French athletes have been growing together and learning from each other, Assoumani said. 

Asked for three words to describe his team at the World Championships, Assoumani said ‘committed’, ‘fun’ and ‘original’.

“The team is original because there is diversity, from the age, the background to the athletes’ origin. We are also different, in terms of category and speciality,” the Paralympian said.

“It’s really rich to have this cultural mix and positive spirit. We share experience and emotions and I think that makes us stronger,” he added. 

“Even if you are experienced like I am, I’m always learning.”

One more year

Assoumani, a Paris 2024 Ambassador, has seen the excitement grow in France since the capital was selected to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“I’ve seen the evolution, also the excitement of the public, from the media, but it’s all just starting. We will soon celebrate one year to go (until the Games) and the public will be even more involved,” he said.

Assoumani made his Paralympic debut at Athens 2004. @Martin Hunter/Getty Images

“Next year is going to be crazy. There will be events at the Eiffel Tower, we have events at Roland-Garros and also a few events will take place at Grand Palais. It’s going to be amazing,” he said. 

With less than 450 days until the Paralympic Opening Ceremony,  Assumani targets a podium finish at the World Championships.

“I’m in really good shape, but I need to perform even better because we are still early in the season,” he said. “Next year, I know I’ve done everything to be ready. So this year, I’m focused on doing my best.”

“It’s a step toward next year. It’s a check point for next year. Next year, I see myself on the podium for sure.”