My career path
"I want to try and create an environment that drives people. Sharing gives people strength, and communication reinforces the ties between us."
I’m a high-level athlete. I took part in the Rio Paralympics in horse-riding and hope to compete in athletics at the Tokyo Paralympics in 2020. I’m also a conference speaker, president of the association Tout est Possible and an author, so my career is quite unusual – I started out studying management and marketing.
I’m passionate about helping other people. My goal is to inspire others and help them live life to the full after an accident nearly cost me mine when I was 17. I was left with partial tetraplegia and a visual impairment. All of us – whether we’re disabled or able-bodied – can be totally fulfilled, challenge ourselves, and go above and beyond. These are the values that drive me to be the best I can be and to challenge my disability. I talk about what I do : in every situation anything is possible. I want to try and create an environment that drives people. Sharing gives people strength, and communication reinforces the ties between us.
My career path. My mother has always been there for me in my sporting career, and that’s always been a great motivation for me. Whatever happens, I’ve done everything I can to achieve my sporting goals, to study and to work. I can count on the support of those around me – my family and my friends, not to mention my professional contacts, who have always helped me. I hope in turn I have inspired them.
A downside or obstacle ? There aren’t any, as long as I can do my part and help to make the world a better place ! I haven’t really faced any obstacles as a high-level athlete. But as a conference speaker, I have. Women are in the minority, although there are more and more of us, and it makes it more difficult for us to stand our ground. My disability was the most difficult thing to get people to accept. I like to help “break” the beliefs around disability, like that we have less authority.
In addition to the success I’ve had with my studies, my degrees, my book and my film, I’m proud of the experiences I’ve had since the accident, like the Paralympics in Rio in 2016, my role on the Board of Directors of Handicap International and as president of the association Tout est Possible, which helps disabled athletes reach the highest possible level.
Le sport, l’entraide associative, humanitaire, de personne à personne et les relations avec les autres.
Ma maman, la plus forte et toutes celles et ceux qui dépassent de vrais défis.
Des histoires réelles, pas un en particulier et des documentaires.
Ma maman, Simone van der Wal. Elle a des croyances fortes et va de l’avant, quoi qu’il arrive. Elle s’est battue pour surmonter les immenses obstacles auxquels elle a fait face.
Mon livre, Pas à pas (Éditions Slatkine).
Le vert, la couleur de l’Association Tout est Possible que j’ai fondée.
Les Jeux paralympiques en athlétisme, ma deuxième carrière sportive dès 2018, après l’équitation.