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42473-Laurent Chardard photo

Laurent Chardard

Swimming

Biography

Impairment information

Classification
S6, SB5, SM6

Further personal information

Residence
Bordeaux, FRA
Occupation
Athlete
Languages
French
Higher education
Engineering - Institute of Technology [IUT] of Bayonne and the Basque Country: France

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
He took up Para swimming in 2017 after recovering from the loss of his arm and leg. Prior to that he had been involved in bodyboarding since childhood.
Why this sport?
He got involved in the sport to overcome his impairment. "I continued doing sport to get myself back on my feet, and that helped me."
Club / Team
Guyenne HandiNages: France
Name of coach
Tugdual Gueguin [personal]

International debut

Year
2018
Competing for
France

General interest

Hobbies
Playing underwater rugby, surfing, bodyboarding, skateboarding, snowboarding. (Instagram profile, 26 Feb 2021; reunion.orange.fr, 06 Sep 2019)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning a silver medal in the S6 50m butterfly at the 2019 World Championships in London, England. (la1ere.francetvinfo.fr, 15 Sep 2019)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Do what you like the most and be persistent." (reunion.orange.fr, 06 Sep 2019)
Ambitions
To compete at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (Pompon podcast, 13 May 2020)
Impairment
In 2016 he lost his right arm and right leg as a result of injuries he sustained in a shark attack while bodyboarding at Boucan Canot beach in Reunion, a French overseas territory. He was rescued by a lifesaver on a jet ski and taken to hospital by helicopter in a critical condition, where he underwent amputations and eventually recovered. "I was lucky because the first aid post was very close to where I was attacked, and there were some doctors and nurses enjoying the beach when it happened, and they came quickly and helped provide first aid. That is why I am lucky to still be here today." (ipreunion.com, 27 May 2018; fmns.fr, 22 Feb 2017; lequipe.fr, 31 Aug 2016; Pompon podcast, 13 May 2020)
Other information
FROM REUNION TO MAINLAND FRANCE
He was born in Saint-Pierre, Reunion, a French overseas territory near Madagascar, and relocated to mainland France in 2009 in order to study engineering. (linfo.re, 17 Dec 2019; reunion.orange.fr, 06 Sep 2019)

HOME-MADE PROSTHETIC
He developed his own prosthetic arm in order to continue bodyboarding. "I have an engineering background, so a month after my accident I immediately started to think about making my own prosthetic. It helps me to grab the board to guide it and do some moves. But then I realised I could do everyday things with it, such as carrying a bag or holding a sheet of paper. It looks a bit home-made, but to be able to get out in the water, it's a really big part of my life. As soon as I have free time I try go to the coast to go find the best wave. It's a passion that has remained." (reunion.orange.fr, 06 Sep 2019; Handisport TV YouTube channel, 21 Oct 2020)

REUNION RESCUE
In 2015 he had returned to Reunion during the university holidays, when he was involved in an underwater rescue. A man had lost consciousness after jumping into deep water from a height of more than 20 metres, so Chardard and a friend dived in to save him. The victim was evacuated by helicopter and recovered, while Chardard and his friend were featured on French national news. "The hardest thing was that the victim had sunk to the bottom, approximately seven or eight metres deep, which was hard to reach. When I reached the bottom I had no air left, but I couldn't leave him, so I grabbed him and swum up to about three metres from the surface when my friend Jeremy helped me get him out." (France 3 News YouTube Channel, 19 Aug 2015)