Cédrik Cabestany playing with the brace to support his right arm
Photo By: Gael Marziou
2012 Paralympic Games (Click here to access this section)
The LIEBHERR World Championships, staged in 2003 in the Paris suburb of Bercy, will always be remembered for the incredible efforts of Austria’s Werner Schlager, the winner of the Men’s Singles crown. He won against all predictions, he won against all odds.
Perhaps we forget that every other title on offer was won by China and, of course, when the event returns to the same arena in May 2013, the venue will be full of memories for Werner Schlager. Now in the twilight of his international career, he will no doubt be in action for Austria.
However, one player who was present ten years ago will not be in action in 2013. Cédrik Cabestany of France now has different goals and more immediate goals; his eyes are focused on the 2012 Paralympic Games.
Overcoming the Odds
Just as Werner Schlager overcame great odds to hold the St Bride’s Vase aloft in 2003, so Cédrik Cabestany has been overcoming great odds, but of a different nature, to be present at the forthcoming London Paralympic Games.
He will be playing in the Men’s Class 9 events; proceedings in the table tennis events commence on Thursday 30th and conclude on Saturday 8th September 2012.
In 2003 there was no sensational result for Cédrik Cabestany; in fact he drew the short straw, he was beaten in the opening round by Korea’s Joo Saehyuk, the eventual runner up.
He extended the Korean to five games; with the benefit of hindsight that was no mean performance.
Regular Face on ITTF Pro Tour
It was his debut in a World Championships and he was a regular on the ITTF Pro Tour; in fact he had played in the first ever ITTF Pro Tour tournament in 1997 in the central English town of Kettering.
Alas, for the then 24 year old Cédrik Cabestany, it was to be his only appearance in a World Championships. He continued to play on the ITTF Pro Tour until January 2007 when he competed in the Slovenian Open but physically life was becoming more and more difficult.
Problem with Playing Arm
The more he trained, the more the pain in his right arm, his playing arm, increased. The discomfort became so great that by 2008, to lift a glass of water, he had to use his left arm.
He was diagnosed as suffering from Focal Dystonia; a neurological condition that affects a muscle or group of muscles in a specific part of the body.
Aware of the disability, Cédrik Cabestany decided to play in Para Table Tennis events, wearing a special brace to support his right arm; the effect is that he can compete by using his backhand virtually all the time.
Furthermore, he has met with success.
In 2011 he was a Men’s Singles a bronze medallist in two international tournaments of note. He secured the third step of the medal podium in Men’s Singles Class 8 at the British Open in Sheffield and at the Copa Tango in the Argentine capital city of Buenos Aires.
One Step Higher
Meanwhile, at the Romania Open in Cluj Napoca, he was a silver medallist in Men’s Singles Class 8 and at the Hungarian Open in Eger in the same catergory.
However, at the Al Watani Championships in the Jordanian city of Amman it was one step higher; he won Men’s Singles Class 8.
Later he was reclassified as Men’s Class 9 and gained the silver medal in that class at the 2012 French Championships in Ceyrat.
A decade ago he made his debut in the World Championships, a decade later he makes his debut in the Paralympic Games; the ExCeL Exhibition Centre awaits.