Imagen
32763-Lea Bayekula photo

Lea Bayekula

Athletics

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Spinal Cord Injuries
Origin of Impairment
Congenital
Classification
T54

Further personal information

Residence
Brussels, BEL
Occupation
Athlete, Student
Languages
French
Higher education
Graphic Design - ESA Le 75: Brussels, BEL

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She became involved in Para athletics at age 15 after switching from wheelchair basketball.
Why this sport?
She took part in a trial day with the Ligue Handisport Francophone. "I chose athletics for its dynamism but equally for the differences it has with basketball. I like to find myself alone with the road."
Club / Team
Royal White Star Athletic: Woluwé-Saint-Lambert, BEL
Name of coach
Francois Maingain, BEL

International debut

Year
2016
Competing for
Belgium
Location
Paris, FRA

General interest

Hobbies
Singing, music, theatre. (Athlete, 06 Nov 2019; Facebook page, 06 Oct 2019)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning the T54 200m at the 2017 National Championships in Brussels, Belgium. (growfunding.be, 14 Jan 2018; brusselsathletics.be, 01 Sep 2017)
Hero / Idol
US Para athlete Hannah McFadden, Belgian Para athlete Marieke Vervoort. (Athlete, 06 Nov 2019)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"You can fail, you can deceive the world but don't give up, do not be what they say about you. Stay true to yourself and you will see that even those who criticised you will admire your victories." (Facebook page, 08 May 2017)
Ambitions
To compete at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (Facebook page, 06 Oct 2019
Impairment
She was born with spina bifida. (ifglobal.org, 12 Apr 2018; Athlete, 06 Nov 2019)
Other information
COMIC BOOK
She is the inspiration for the main character in the comic book 'Lea - Roue de secours', which was created by Hans Van de Cauter. The story follows the life of a journalist named Lea, while also highlighting accessibility for people with an impairment in Brussels, Belgium. "I am a fighter and have never let my disability stop me. But not everyone is equally strong. Many people with an impairment stay at home, for fear of the problems they will encounter. I also want to wake them up with this comic. It is important that people with an impairment do not give up until all obstacles have been removed." (hln.be, 04 Nov 2018; ifglobal.org, 12 Apr 2018; bx1.be, 10 Apr 2018)

FURTHER EDUCATION
She has studied physical education at the Parnasse Institute [ISEI] in Woluwe-Saint-Lambert, Belgium. (handisport.be, 17 Aug 2020; Athlete, 06 Nov 2019; Facebook profile, 06 Oct 2019)

DOCUMENTARIES
She is the subject of a documentary called 'Paralympique', which was made by Anouk Ferreira Da Silva and follows her journey to the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. She has also appeared on the Belgian documentary series 'Croire Malgre Tout' [Believe in Spite of Everything]. (catho-bruxelles.be, 19 Oct 2020; wolubilis.be, 03 Oct 2020)