You have to sneak between the dilapidated towers of the Chêne-Pointu district to find the entrance to the “solidarity dojo” in Clichy-sous-Bois (Seine-Saint-Denis). At the foot of the blocks, no sports complex in sight, but a dilapidated shopping center where old advertisements testify to a dynamism that no longer exists. Hairdresser, fast food, café… Only the sizzling neon lights and enamelled windows remained. A brand new local stands out: in the middle of the shopping center a dojo has been set up.
The place was inaugurated by the President of the Republic in person, in June. It must be said that this dojo was built as part of the “Macron plan” for financing 5,000 local sports facilities, launched in October 2021: it is a question of creating, by 2024, small infrastructures – including 1,000 dojos – to strengthen and facilitate access to the practice of sport by the French, the prospect of hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris having reminded us that inequalities are strong in the country in this area.
In the case of solidarity dojos, the idea is to be able to install them on the ground floor of buildings or in former commercial premises, and to animate them throughout the day in conjunction with local social actors. . “I have lived here for years. When I was told that I was going to play sports at Chêne-Pointu, I couldn’t believe it! », comes alive Laadj Tallaa, in the Clichy-sous-Bois dojo. The retiree participates, this Monday morning, in a gentle gymnastics course. “It’s near my house, and it keeps me in shape. Before, I used to go to the swimming pool, but the burkini is forbidden there, so I preferred to stop. »
In the room, twelve seniors from the Maurice-Audin sports health center are busy under the guidance of coach Romain Belotti: “These are people far from physical practice, sometimes with disabilities. We offer them a suitable practice. Next to the retirees, Saida Hamma and David Mario Tolis put on their kimonos. “I am training my companion so that she can give self defense lessonsexplains the latter. This will be a course adapted for women victims of violence. »
Here, no resident clubs, but slots entrusted to associations to allow residents to access sport and culture. “It’s a place with a social vocation where the activities focus on health and integration. The seniors go to the gym, the little ones judo, the parents are digitally trained”explains Jacques Favre, former director of sports for the city of Clichy-sous-Bois, who has long supported the project.
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