Handisport in the spotlight at HEC with the President of Paris 2024
As part of the 2023 Olympic and Paralympic week, Tony Estanguet, President of the Paris 2024 Olympic & Paralympic Games organizing committee, spent the day of April 6 on HEC campus to participate with students in various disability sports' workshops. The societal role of sport and inclusion were at the heart of this special day.
© Ciprien Olteanu
Auteur/Author of this article: Frédéric Voirin
With 500 days to go before the opening of the 2024 Paralympic Games, Tony Estanguet carries his message with determination: "we want these Paralympic Games to be treated with the same ambition as the Olympic Games." The president of Paris 2024 has moreover revealed that in terms of inclusion "the Paris Olympic Games will be the first edition that officially integrates the Paralympic Games, will share the same sports infrastructure and the same logo."
Remedy the deficit of notoriety and popularity of Paralympic sport is also for the triple Olympic champion the way to make sport a "lever for the social link and change our view on disability."
Considering these convictions, the students of the HEC Handicap association, the HEC sports department and the school's disability mission could not have dreamed of a better ambassador for the organization of the April 6 handisport awareness day and the 2023 edition of the Uni'Run solidarity race.
Paralympic sports figures introduce students to their disciplines
Paralympic athletes, including Lucas Mazur, three-time world champion in para-badminton, and French champion Steve Matyja, as well as presidents of federations or clubs for disabled sports, came to introduce students to cecifoot (with Julien Zéléla, a pioneer of this sport in France, accompanied by a delegation from his club in Saint-Mandé), wheelchair rugby or martial arts with para-chanbara (with Michel Boudon, Vice President of the para-chanbara discipline at the French Judo Federation and Ile de France Paralympic referent of the French Paralympic and Sports Committee).
This is not the first time that the HEC campus has welcomed Paralympic champions to allow students to confront the issue of disability, since in October 2021 the Handi Forum had already brought together more than 400 students for an afternoon.
Lucas Aucher-Fargue, HEC Grande Ecole student and president of HEC Handicap & Disability, declared with Olympic enthusiasm: "Last year, we organized our first handisport workshops. It's great to be associated this year with Paris 2024, which is an incredible gas pedal for a whole host of causes. Disability concerns us all, whether as citizens or in our future management roles.
Agnès Tourneix, head of the HEC Paris disability mission, adds that "all these actions contribute to changing the way we look at disability. Through these actions, we also pass on to our students the values of surpassing oneself.
Taking disability into account at the heart of the HEC campus
Launched in 2019, the HEC Paris disability mission aims at helping build a community that is enriched by its differences. Aware that equity objectives on these societal subjects take time, HEC has initiated significant changes over the past several years in order to improve its reception conditions for student populations with disabilities and to collectively contribute to the construction of a more inclusive, supportive and innovative society.
Thus, ESH students (students with disabilities) benefit from specific educational and student life adaptations according to their disability: provision of adapted software, adaptation and sending of academic materials, provision of adapted housing, adjustment of work and examination schedules. In addition, all students are generally made aware of the concept of disability through days, conferences and actions to raise awareness of disability on campus. These include, for example, handicafés (a meeting place for students and young professionals with disabilities) and DuoDay, a national program in which HEC Paris welcomes people with disabilities in pairs with a volunteer employee.
Uni'Run 2023: running to support people with disabilities
After a speech to the students, Tony Estanguet officially gave the start of the Uni'Run solidarity race (organized thanks to the support of and in partnership with the Banque Populaire Val de France, the Paris-Île de France FFSU League and Handi'Chiens). More than 150 people took part in this 5 to 10 km race around the campus, showing their support to the different student associations that benefit from the event.
The funds raised from this race will be donated to several associations, including Handi-Chiens, which will receive 50% of the funds, and two other associations chosen from a list of proposed projects, based on the number of kilometers run. These beneficiaries include various HEC Paris student associations: Cheer Up, Rêve d'Enfance, Enfants du Maroc, Fleur de Bitume, Avenir Vietnam and Des Piliers pour Avancer.
A shared vision for impact
There is no doubt that Tony Estanguet's involvement will have contributed to strengthening the scope of this day on April 6 as well as the commitment of all HEC campus stakeholders in their actions in favor of inclusion.
The message of the President of the Organizing Committee for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games also had a special resonance with the students, employees and management of HEC Paris, who were united around a vision of impact.
"We need to accelerate the societal role of sport, to generate impact with a new approach that must be integrated from the beginning in organizations. We can no longer organize Olympic and Paralympic Games without worrying about the impact they will generate."