“I want to do it to have a new project in my life. I know it will be very difficult at a great level, but I want to try it. I did it to be better physically and mentally. Sport is very important for me and I love competition; I love all the girls in my category.”
French track and field star Marie-Amelie Le Fur returns to action at World Para Athletics’ Paris Grand Prix this week (14-15 June) in her first major competition since the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Le Fur, who won long jump and 400m T44 gold in Brazil two years ago, suffered the devastating loss of her unborn baby earlier this year but believes athletics will help give her a focus just when she needs it most.
“It’s complicated to come back very quickly, but I need it,” explained the 29-year-old, who will compete in the long jump at the Stade Charlety in the French capital.
“I want to do it to have a new project in my life. I know it will be very difficult at a great level, but I want to try it.
“I did it to be better physically and mentally. Sport is very important for me and I love competition; I love all the girls in my category.”
The French Para athlete, who now competes in the T64 class for single below-knee amputees after January’s classification rule changes, hopes the Paris Grand Prix will provide proof that she will be ready to compete at August’s European Championships in Berlin, Germany.
“I wanted to be in Berlin as a spectator anyway; now I think it’s possible to come back and compete. I asked my coach and he agreed we can try.
“For Paris, I want to find my feelings, I want to find a new mark and I hope to jump over five metres; 5.20m we hope,” added the former world champion, who leapt 5.84m when she claimed gold at Doha 2015.
At last year’s World Championships in London, Great Britain, Le Fur worked as a commentator with French television.
Watching, rather than competing, was an experience she loved – but it also reaffirmed her desire to return to the track, and she is not ruling out the possibility of the 2019 World Championships or Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
“It was a very good moment for me to be on television and to commentate,” explained Le Fur. “But I knew my dream was to have a baby, I knew at that moment I was pregnant. So it was not difficult, but I knew at the time that I wanted to come back.
“After this loss, I decided to come back very quickly to try to have a very good project and I know if I don’t compete between Rio and Tokyo I can’t come back, so I have to do it this year.”
Le Fur did however keep up her fitness while she was pregnant, so has few concerns when it comes to regaining her form and technique.
And while starting a family together with her partner is still her greatest desire, she is enjoying time spent back doing the sport she loves best, surrounded by friends and fellow athletes.
“I’m really happy because I have a lot of feelings – I go to training with a young generation, I love to follow their progress. So I’m not sure if I can be back for Berlin or Tokyo but I love these moments with this team.
“It’s very important to have a Grand Prix in Paris and I hope to have a good competition as it is important to have a big performance in France.
“It’s the time to meet again with my friends and my family, so I’m really happy and really honoured to compete.”