Charles Antoine Plans To Channel Home Crowd’s Power To Win His Second Paralympic Gold At Paris 2024

Charles-Antoine Kouakou, a Paralympic athlete, is gearing up for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games with unwavering determination and a track record of success. His journey, marked by hard work and dedication, has seen him break records and win medals on the international stage. 

Residing in Paris, Charles comes from a supportive family consisting of his sister, Grace Kelly, his father, Marcel, and his mother, Sistine.

My father, my mother, my sister, and everyone are proud of me,” he says, highlighting the strong support system that has been with him every step of the way. 

Fortunately,  Charles has faced minimal discrimination due to his intellectual impairment and autistic traits. Charles discovered his passion for athletics at the young age of fifteen years old.

I started very young. I was 17 and 15 years old. Even in Saint-Denis, I ran and was told I was good at running,” he recalls.

This early encouragement led him to try various events, including the high jump, long jump, and 1000m. Charles received his international eligibility with Virtus in January 2017 which opened doors for him at the international para-sports competitions. He joined the French team the same year, marking a significant milestone in his athletic career. 

He has already won 30 international medals from various competitions including Virtus Global Games, regional games and his favourite medal, the gold from the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

Athletics has had a profound impact on Charles’s life, helping him grow both personally and socially. 

I’ve done other sports, I’ve practised karate, judo, handball, table tennis, a little bit of everything. But I choose athletics over them all as I love it. Athletics has helped me in many different ways. For me, it allows me to go for a walk, eat with friends, buy in a store, go to Carrefour, go to a supermarket, buy a piece of clothing, he explains.

“I realized that I was in a bit of trouble and I was a little autistic. I was told that I had to progress in reading and so that’s how I progressed.”

The discipline and routine of training have also helped him manage his daily life and responsibilities. Charles trains almost seven times a week. His coach and the support from the French Federation of Adapted Sport and Virtus Sport have been crucial in his preparation for the Paralympic Games. 

Charles Antoine at the 2021 Virtus World Indoor Athletics Championship. Photo Credit: FFSA

With his sights set on the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games, Charles is determined to win the gold medal. He acknowledges the competition, particularly from Brazilian athletes, but remains confident in his abilities. 

I want to win another gold at Paris 2024. it will be quite a memory because it’s in France and I’ll be known by all Parisians, even in Saint-Denis itself, everywhere! If I become a Paralympic champion in Paris, I can meet Emmanuel Macron again.”

Looking to the future, Charles is considering a career that combines sports with another profession, emphasizing the importance of having a balanced life. 

Charles-Antoine Kouakou’s journey is a testament to resilience, hard work, and the power of a supportive community. As he prepares for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games, his story serves as an inspiration to athletes everywhere, proving that with determination and support, anything is possible. 

Join Virtus’ #MakingInvisibleVISIBLE campaign in making Charles-Antoine’s journey Visible. 


Intellectual impairment is an umbrella term to describe a vast and neuro-diverse group of people with varying types of cognitive impairments including intellectual disability, Down syndrome and autism. Having an intellectual impairment impacts how an athlete understands the rules of the sport, interacts with other players, and adjusts to different environments. They might find it difficult to manage reaction times, remember specific race or game strategies, retain focus for long period of time, or maintaining impulse control.