Wednesday, 22 May 2024

News | BWF World Championships

From car racing to wheelchair badminton, Cynthia Mathez has always been drawn to speed. When she first tried badminton three years ago, she immediately fell in love with its fast-paced nature. Mathez, representing Switzerland, will compete in the women’s wheelchair doubles (WH1-WH2) category alongside Karin Suter-Erath at the TOTAL BWF Para-Badminton Championships in Basel, Switzerland.

Before discovering badminton, Mathez was involved in judo and car racing. As a child, she would accompany her father to the race track, sparking her interest in the sport. At the age of 11, she drove her first car, a 1989 Volkswagen Sirocco with a V8 engine. The car’s racing number, 219, was the same as her late father’s. To honor this memory, Mathez carries the number 219 on her racket, and she has a “V8” tattooed on her neck.

Mathez has several tattoos, each representing significant moments in her life. One of these tattoos, a boomerang, holds a special meaning for her. The boomerang symbolizes the French word “vie,” meaning life, and Mathez got this tattoo while at a tournament in Australia in 2018.

Mathez’s journey into badminton wasn’t solely by choice. Being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) at the age of 24 forced her to give up car racing. She tried various other sports but only discovered badminton after starting to use a wheelchair. MS is an unpredictable and often disabling disease that affects the central nervous system, gradually slowing down the body over time.

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Despite the challenges presented by MS, Mathez remains determined. She has learned to train smartly and rest adequately, considering the fatigue and other symptoms associated with the disease. Mathez recognizes the value of time, especially with MS, and aims to make the most of every moment.

Her primary goal now is to win in Basel after missing the opportunity at the World Championships two years ago. Mathez also dreams of competing in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. However, she acknowledges the uncertainty that comes with MS and understands that her body’s condition can change suddenly. Nevertheless, she continues to enjoy the sport and views it as an opportunity to beat the disease for as long as possible.

Image: Mathez with Karin Suter-Erath (left) as European Champions in 2018

Note: This article has been rewritten and adapted from the original source.