Perfect. That’s the only way to describe Marylou Martineau’s record after two days of competition at the National Boccia Open, presented as part of the 40th Défi sportif AlterGo. The athletic ambassador concluded the preliminary rounds with a third consecutive win on Saturday afternoon at the Maurice-Richard Arena.
The BC3 player defeated Gilles Dufour and Samuel Lafleur before facing Alexandre Ziegler.
Although she botched a push in the third set, giving her opponent a point, Martineau did not get rattled, as she had already built up a 4-0 lead. However, she did not once let down her guard. She knows her opponent too well for that.
“Alexandre is a good player. He always comes up with something surprising. Just because he has a visual impairment, he’s not to be taken lightly. He always positions his balls well,” said Martineau, who ended up winning the game 5-1.
Although Martineau is proud to be an athletic ambassador for the 40th Défi sportif AlterGo, she does feel some nervousness about fulfilling her role. But the experienced athlete has a few helpful tricks up her sleeve.
“I take time to breathe. I listen to music. I stay in my bubble. Even if a lot of people come up to me to talk, I’m able to stay focused and visualize the court. I manage to keep myself calm.”
According to Martineau, the Défi sportif AlterGo has a positive influence on people with disabilities. The way she sees it, the event instills courage and determination in athletes, both beginners and those with more experience. And that courage and determination take on even more meaning when she explains that the Défi sportif AlterGo gives young people the power to dream big and imagine the future. Become a big-time athlete? Utterly reasonable. The Défi sportif AlterGo is a doorway to that dream.
Amid all the excitement, what does Martineau make of the fact that the Défi sportif is turning forty this year?
“I think it’s great, but I also feel that time is going by so fast. It’s been ten years since I began at the 30th Défi. When we won the team gold medal with the school, I remember being on the poster. I’m really proud to be an ambassador for the 40th edition. I’m proud to show that despite our limitations, we have a place here and we can continue to improve. It sets a good example for the community.”
Catch Martineau in her quarter-final game sunday, April 23, at 9:00 a.m. at the Maurice-Richard Arena.