Sunreef Yachts proudly supports the ASF Mulhouse, a renowned Wheelchair Sports Association since 2019. Today, the Sunreef Yachts Blog talks to Patrick Moyses, who is the president of the association but also an inspiring athlete and champion in four distinct sports disciplines. In this interview, he shares his personal story and his own vision of true sportsmanship.
You have been in a serious accident and you found out that you won’t be able to walk for the rest of your life. Today, you help young people with disabilities to regain self-confidence and to rebuild themselves. What gave you the strength to find your own way before you started helping others?
Patrick MOYSES: To be honest, I don’t really know. When you have an accident at the age of 18, you don’t really know what’s happening to you and what the rest of your life will be like.
As a sport lover, I was lucky enough to be able to practice sports already during my rehabilitation. I realized that this could be a solution, a way to get out of it, to rise up while still sitting on my wheelchair. It allowed me to regain my place in society.
What does a day in the life of Patrick Moyses look like?
Patrick MOYSES: I think that my everyday life is normal, like everyone else’s life. I have to wake up early to do everything I planned for the day. I always take care of my body and my health in the first place. These are the essential conditions in order to live normally with my disability (41 years spent in a wheelchair). Then I try to do sports and finally I take care of my club and my charity work. My family also occupies a very important place in my life.
Tell me more about ASF (Wheelchair Sports Association) Mulhouse.
Patrick MOYSES: ASF Mulhouse is a club that was created more than 30 years ago to encourage persons with disabilities to actively participate in sport. The ASF was created first and foremost to enable the athletes to compete in regional, national, international and even world-wide competitions. It’s been more than 25 years since we opened a first in France sports school for recently injured children, in order to let them develop a taste for sport. Several ASF athletes have had high-level careers, which gives a lot of hope to all these people who come to practice sport every Wednesday at the club.
What’s your biggest success?
Patrick MOYSES: My sports victories, of course. The organization of one of the biggest hand bike races in the world (Rosenau in Alsace), that I organize for more than 20 years now. But I believe that my greatest success and my greatest pride is to have given to dozens of people and for several decades now, the desire to do something good despite the handicap and to give them the hope for a good, fulfilling life and success, even if it wasn’t written in the stars at the beginning.
You have had several achievements in different sports disciplines:
(1986 – Gold medal at the World Swimming Championships, 1988 – Silver medal in butterfly at the Paralympic Games, 2002-2006 – The title of handbike World Champion 4 years in a row, you also practice nordic skiing (luge), wheelchair racing and you’ve tried basketball). Why did you decide to try several disciplines?
Patrick MOYSES: Sport is my life. I love the effort and I love working hard to reach the highest level possible. My philosophy of the sport is not about the winning, but about trying to achieve 100% of what we’re capable of, so we can feel an absolute pleasure of our highest performance. As president of the club, I have always been a leading light for others, so each time I end up taking part in the games.
Handbiking is the main activity of your club. What is your history with this sport?
Patrick MOYSES: When I thought my sporting career was over I already had nice achievements. Then, my daughter Emeline was born and about that time I bought a handbike to cycle like everyone else. I also bought a trailer to put Emeline in. As I was used to train every day, I kept going. I progressed very quickly and since I love competition, well, I signed up for a race and the success came very quickly. In our sports school we noticed that handbike was easier for young people than the athletic chair, so we gave them the possibility to try it too. The evolution of the handbike is on a roll, because now we have the possibility of producing off-road handbikes and electric-assisted handbikes, which opens up new perspectives for people with more disabilities and for seniors.
What do you think of the collaboration between your club and Sunreef Yachts? What are the values and inspirations that you share?
Patrick MOYSES: Our collaboration with Sunreef Yachts is so important to me. Beyond the financial aspect, it’s the respect you give us as humans and as athletes. Treating us as equals and the importance you give to our members and our projects make us valuable and give us great pride. The excellence that Sunreef Yachts has achieved is exactly what I look for in sport, because to be the best you have to be challenging and rigorous. This commitment to excellence and ceaseless work is what characterizes us, Francis LAPP and myself.
What are your upcoming projects?
Patrick MOYSES: As a first step, my plan is to be the coach of the French handbike team which will participate in the Tokyo Paralympic Games this summer. In the longer term, I am committed to do my best as a coach and prepare the French team for the Paralympic Games in Paris in 2024. We hope to have the best French team possible for these Paralympic Games that will take place in our country, which does not happen often. Then, I will continue to develop the ASF Mulhouse (my baby) in order to give the opportunity to its members to be selected for this Olympic dream. I will also help our members discover the forest and nature on an all-terrain handbike. Some (if not most) have never been in the forest, such a beautiful place for everyone.