Meeting with Sabrina Cornayre, the only wheelchair player in Loiret

Sabrina Cornayre discovered parabadminton in 2019. Licensed at ABP 45, in Pithiviers, she is the only wheelchair player in Loiret. A true fan of discipline, she plays almost every day and regularly mixes with the able-bodied. Encounter.

Les Sportives: How did you discover para badminton?

Sabrina Cornayre : It’s my daughter playing Pithiviers for several years. In 2019, the club offered an armchair initiation. I tested and immediately hooked. I didn’t send back a steering wheel but it didn’t matter, I liked it. I very quickly invested in a sports wheelchair and signed up right away. Shortly after, the president told me that she had hired me for the French championships.

Is it real love at first sight?

Yes, clearly! The first year was really for fun, now I’m a nut. It’s not just about returning the wheel, you have to think about the game. You have to find the flaw to take the lead and place the wheel well to put the opponent in difficulty, that’s what I like Really. I have a lot of room for improvement in terms of movement. For the rest, it’s cool, I’m having fun. I like the fast game more, maybe because in the club I’m the only one in a wheelchair. With the able-bodied the game is completely different than on roulette. The game is more tense, faster, it makes reactivity work.

“I am a bit of an alien in the Loiret”

You are the only para badminton player in a wheelchair in your Loiret club, is it the same everywhere?

We are not very many in wheelchairs and we are very scattered. There are clubs where they manage to be eight or ten, but not here. So I’m a bit of an alien in the Loiret, because I register for valid tournaments. I’m excited about the competition, even if I lose I don’t care. Para tournaments there aren’t that many, the big events are the French championships and the stages of the He prepared the circuit. This corresponds to approximately 10 dates throughout the year. The problem is that it’s often far, so it’s a bit of a hassle. That’s why I get involved with the able-bodied and I adapt to their rules.

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Sabrina sometimes plays with her daughter with the able-bodied, like here in Montgeron.

What are the differences between valid and wheelchair play?

In the parabad, there is no front zone, that of the service. In singles, we play on a valid half-court with the doubles lane. Basically it’s a doubles court divided in two. For the doubles rules, there is still no front zone and the pair must be made up of a WH1 without abs and WH2 with abs. The handicap being a little heavier for the WH1, it is necessary to harmonize the teams, to avoid too much difference in level. I am WH2.

“Those who see me as a fragile little flower, I tell them to play normally”

How is the competition going with the valid club of Pithiviers?

I do doubles in interclubs. I am captain of the D3 and veterans. The veterans are super good kids, it’s great. D3 interclubs are the same and you can earn points more easily than in tournaments. In tournaments, I’ve already played with my daughter, it’s nice. I try to vary the partners, women and men.

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What are the reactions of your valid opponents?

Now I’m famous so it’s fine, but at the beginning there were a lot of thoughts. What often comes up is that it’s super disturbing, because I’m lower, you can’t see my serve well. I am told that we don’t dare to do this or that, sometimes it’s a bit heavy. Some see me as a fragile little flower, I tell them not to worry, to play normally. Often, my teammates go upstream to warn the opponents that I am a player like the others. My regret is not being able to work well on wheelchair movements. It’s not always easy for the standing team members to support me without preventing me from playing.

“The international, I’m thinking about it, but we will have to find sponsors”

And what results in para badminton in the Loiret and elsewhere?

I am 2e French singles player. In doubles, I have two bronze medals, in mixed last year and in women this year. I haven’t done an international tournament yet. My new coach (since September) is putting things in my head that I would never have thought of doing, because I considered myself too old. Eventually I realize not. So if there’s a way, yes, I’m going. Afterwards, we will have to find sponsors. I have a custom chair that cost 6740 euros. I paid 600, the rest was financed by the Centre-Val de Loire Region, the town hall and my Pithiviers club, not to mention the Lions Club and a few private partners. You also have to think about tires, travel, accommodation, etc.

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The Loiret champion continues the tournaments, valid and parabad.

Are the Paralympic Games possible?

In Paris, I thought I understood that there would be no mixed, only men’s singles and doubles. I think there are not enough players. In addition, you must be internationally qualified and have participated in enough tournaments to have a minimum of points in order to access the Games. For the moment, I am a small insect in this universe.

Below is a video of the French badminton federation to learn more about Para badminton:

Sports Centre-Loire Valley



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