Tough start does not deter Lucas Mazur

French Para badminton star rebounds from early loss 07 May 2019
male Para badminton player Lucas Mazur plays a backhand

Lucas Mazur enhanced his status as the world's best SL 4 player with double gold at his home Euros

ⒸAlan Spink
By Tim Norris | For the IPC

Para badminton world and European champion Lucas Mazur is learning from his first loss of the season.

The 21-year-old Frenchman, who started 2019 as the world No. 1, was hoping to set an early marker on the trail to Tokyo 2020. But he was shocked in March’s Turkish International, the first qualification event for next year’s Paralympics, losing the men’s singles SL4 final to Suhas Yathiraj.

“Very clearly, it was a big disappointment because my expectation was clear: coming to win,” Mazur said. “I was very tired and made a lot of mistakes.

“I've learned more about myself. I feel more vulnerable than before because I hadn’t lost for a long time in a final. Especially since this was the first competition for Paralympics qualification and I lost in the final.

“Of course, there is a big challenge. I was disappointed with my performances and I was expecting to be better.”

Bouncing back

Mazur did not wait long to return to winning ways, defeating India’s Tarun Tarun 21-13, 21-17 in his next competition, the Fazza Para Badminton International in April.

“I was lucky enough to be able to react immediately during the Dubai tournament,” said Mazur. “I was able to correct my shortcomings. My general condition was better, I made fewer mistakes and managed to win. I’m happy with my performance. We must continue in this direction because the last tournament proved that work pays off.”

His resilience is something that goes back to his childhood. After a stroke aged three left him with a malformed ankle, he was determined to pursue his love for sport.

“I tried badminton at school during my sport lessons and I was immediately hooked!”

World domination

It was clearly the right decision, as almost two decades on, Mazur is looking to defend his singles title at August’s World Championships in Basel, Switzerland.

“Of course, like any high-level athlete, my ultimate goal for this season is to be world champion again,” Mazur said. “This would be the accomplishment of hours and hours of work. I remember when I became European champion. It was a source of great pride for me and my relatives and I had so many emotions…amazing!”

He hopes that success in Switzerland will leave him in pole position for badminton’s Paralympic debut at Tokyo 2020.

“For the Paralympic Games in Tokyo, my goals are very clear: win the title in the singles and win at least the bronze in the doubles.”