Charles-Antoine Kouakou, a golden lap

The sprinter brought his sixth gold medal to the French team in Tokyo on Tuesday by winning the 400-meter final (T20 category).

«I was determined, I assured and I succeeded“. It is with these simple words that Charles-Antoine Koakou commented on his performance in the 400m (T20 category) in Tokyo. For his first Games, the 23-year-old clinched the Paralympic title and brings the total of French medals to 33, just two units from the goal set at 35 before the event. It is also the third medal of French adapted sport, the counterpart of disabled sports for people with cognitive disabilities, since Léa Ferney (silver) and Lucas Créange (bronze) had paved the way in table tennis. Finally, it is the fifth podium in French paralympic athletics, after notably the silver medal of the president of the French Paralympic and sports committee Marie-Amélie Le Fur in the long jump (category T64).

The native of Paris and resident of the Antony club completed the lap in 47”63 ahead of Venezuelan Luis Felipe Rodriguez Bolivar (47”71) and Briton Columba Blango (47”81). Either the best time of his career, him whose progression has been linear for several years. Thus, from a 5e Place at the 2019 World Championships, Koakou then managed to climb to the second step of the European podium last June. But no one expected to see him continue his ascent with a Paralympic title on Tuesday. All the more so at the halfway point where he showed the effects of a very poor start, leaving the Venezuelan Bolivar to catch up with him and even pass him in front of him despite the lane shift. But at the exit of the last corner, the Frenchman completed a dazzling last 100 meters to beat his best performance by a second, and thus clinch the first major title of his career.

Intellectually deficient since his birth, Kouakou cannot read, write or count. This does not prevent him from running fast, very fast, he who trains with able-bodied athletes. One way to pull him up and allow him to progress, even if his room for improvement is still significant. However, he will not have the opportunity to win other podiums in Tokyo since the 200 meters, on which he is also very successful, is not a Paralympic discipline in its category. But in three years in Paris, if he continues his ascent so regularly, he will appear as a very serious candidate for his own succession.

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