“I feel very good, the health is there and the level of play is also present. I'm doing a very good final preparation and now we cannot wait to be in Slovenia to face the best players in the world.”
France’s Fabien Lamirault got the fresh start he wanted for 2018, and all that is left is a happy ending, which he hopes for at the World Para Table Tennis Championships from 15 October in Lasko-Celje, Slovenia.
The multi-Paralympic, world and European champion is used to the taste of gold, especially after winning both singles and team titles at the Rio 2016 Paralympics.
But 2017 was different.
He failed to defend his European singles crown, instead finding himself settling for bronze in the men’s class 2. He also lost in the 2017 World Team Championships final.
Gold at a minor event in Sint-Niklaas, Belgium, that year was not satisfying enough for the world No. 1.
“After Rio 2016, I had a hard time getting back to work so I had a very complicated 2017 season in terms of results and dynamics in general,” Lamirault said. “I was therefore keen to get off to a good start at the start of the season by playing good tournaments in May.”
He did get the start he wanted.
May became a busy month for many Para table tennis players preparing for October’s main event, with the Slovakia Open and Slovenian Open drawing the top athletes from around the world.
In Slovakia, the 38-year-old captured a much-needed victory in the men’s singles final, and that gave him confidence to defend his title in October.
“It was good to taste again with the win, which had not happened since Rio,” the French athlete said. “It allowed me not to gamble too much on my level and to show the competition that I was still there.”
He also took singles bronze in the Slovenian Open, which acted as a test event for the 2018 Worlds. For Lamirault, that bronze was still significant, as it means he knows what awaits him in just over a week’s time.
“I feel very good, the health is there and the level of play is also present,” Lamirault said. “I'm doing a very good final preparation and now we cannot wait to be in Slovenia to face the best players in the world.”
“I have a style of play that is very physical and requires a lot of commitment, that's also my strength and allows me to regularly take over my opponents,” Lamirault continued. “So for these World Championships the key will be again the physical and I hope that my body will respond present otherwise it will be much more complicated.”