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Manuel De Los SANTOS exceptionnel !

Manuel de Los Santos est un ancien joueur de baseball, qui a perdu une jambe à la suite d’un accident de la circulation en février 2003.Résident français depuis mars 2003, il se reconvertit au golf en mai 2004, en autodidacte. C’est le film La Légende de Bagger Vance qui lui a fait découvrir le golf et qui l’a décidé à se rendre sur un practice. Il est membre de l’équipe de France handigolf depuis avril 2005. Il est vice-champion d’Europe handigolf en 2006.Il est le premier joueur de golf jouant sur une seule jambe et participant à des compétitions de golf de haut niveau avec des joueurs valides. Il est notamment connu pour sa force de frappe qui fait partie d’une des plus puissantes du monde et qui rivalise avec la grande majorité des frappes des joueurs « valides« Palmarès

Suede-201508-juin2006

  • 1er à Schwanhof aux Internationaux d’Allemagne
  • 1er à Tolède à l’Open d’Espagne
  • 2e au Championnat d’Europe par équipe
  • Vice-champion d’Europe

2007

  • 1er à Montgriffon aux Internationaux de France 2e série
  • 1er à Stiges à l’Open d’Espagne

2008

  • 2e aux Internationaux de France

            Manuel-de-los-santos-Golf 2011 mauel et gregory 2,012  JG & Manuel nationale

Mais c’est un golfeur phénoménal …  Manuel De Los Santos, 23 ans,  né à San Pedro de Macoris (République Dominicaine).

Un bel athlète de 1,75m, taillé … comme un joueur de baseball!

Signe particulier : amputé de la jambe gauche !

Voilà le profil d’un joueur de Baseball … le sport qui fait rêver tous les niños de Saint Domingue dès qu’ils sont en âge de marcher et peut-être même avant …

Dans ce petit pays des Caraibes, économiquement défavorisé, le baseball est un sport populaire .

La République fournie devant le Japon le plus grand nombre de joueurs étrangers au championnat professionnel de baseball de la Ligue aux Etats-Unis.

Numéro un social des Nations Unies de tous les jeunes . Tous s’imaginent jouer dans les clubs phares du baseball.

Manuel de Los Santos Revue Presse.pngSource:   site Manuel De Los Santos    Revue de Presse : ICI

Son Histoire:  Le monde entier a fait la Connaissance de Manuel De Los Santos à l’occasion l’Alfred Dunhill Championship en 2 009.

Il est originaire de la République Dominicaine, il vit et s’entraîne en France, il a impressionné le monde du golf. Une belle leçon de courage!

Manuel de Los Santos swing.png

Manuel De Los Santos   Vice champion d’Europe handigolf: simplement génial!

Sa silhouette ne passe pas inaperçue . Quand il arrive au practice, sac de golf au dos, soutenu par sa paire de béquilles, d’allure rapide … les golfeurs se tournent vers lui. …

Que ce soit à Auteuil ou il s’entraîne et à Seraincourt où il aime à jouer, Manuel n’a que des admirateurs et des amis. Tout le monde le respecte et sont émerveillé pour ce jeune, toujours souriant, affable, qui bien campé sur sa seule jambe droite nous délivre des swings de rêve et vous détaille une palette de coups sur le terrain à faire pâlir tous les golfeurs amateurs que nous sommes. . Manuel  est un unijambiste.

Le golf est assurément le sport où le nombre de dictons mis à la disposition du joueur en détresse est le plus grand. Par exemple, après une balle égarée dans les bois touffus :

«C’est déjà un miracle d’exister et de marcher, alors en plus taper loin et droit, c’est du luxe.»

Manuel de Los Santos, 24 ans. Voilà un type qui, sans avoir jamais touché un club auparavant, est parvenu à se hisser à un niveau quasi professionnel en moins de quatre ans, et en pur autodidacte. Il se trouve aussi que Manuel n’a plus qu’une jambe depuis cinq ans.

Base-ball. Un parcours de golf, ce sont six bons kilomètres que le natif de la République dominicaine arpente avec des béquilles, et sans amertume. A Bordeaux, cela fera 24 kilomètres en quatre jours, si Manuel passe le cut vendredi soir – car au bout de deux jours on ne garde que les meilleurs dans ce genre de tournoi. Avec un index de 2,8 – soit le niveau d’un excellent amateur -, Manuel de Los Santos a peu de chance de gagner la compétition. Mais il aura de toute manière la satisfaction d’avoir été le premier golfeur handicapé admis à concourir dans un Open pro pour valides. Une première européenne, et peut-être mondiale.

Le golf a aussi cette particularité d’être un sport où la différence entre valides et handicapés ne se mesure pas au nombre de jambes ou de bras, mais à la quantité de points sur la carte de score au 18e trou. «C’est au retour de la foire que l’on compte les bouses», entend-on dire dans les chics club-houses.

Sa jambe gauche, il l’a perdue (à mi-cuisse) dans un accident de moto en février 2003. C’était d’autant plus idiot qu’une carrière professionnelle de joueur de base-ball attendait ce grand garçon athlétique, plein d’une violence maîtrisée, repéré sur son île par un rabatteur d’un club de Toronto. Adieu veaux, vaches et peut-être même vie, si trois personnes providentielles n’avaient infléchi le cours du destin : Elena, devenue sa femme peu après l’accident, Robert Redford, acteur et réalisateur, et un parfait inconnu qui tapait des balles au practice de Champigny-sur-Marne.

Commençons par Redford : Manuel ne l’a jamais rencontré, mais sa femme Elena (pharmacienne à l’Agence française du médicament) est une fan de l’acteur. et plus encore du réalisateur. Un soir de 2004, alors que le couple venait de s’installer en France, elle passe le DVD de la Légende de Bagger Vance, histoire édifiante d’un homme brisé qui va devenir champion de golf. Soudain Elena et Manuel se regardent interloqués : ce swing de golf, mais c’est quasiment le mouvement du batteur de base-ball !

Comme madame tient absolument à ce que monsieur reprenne une activité sportive pour s’extraire de sa léthargie posttraumatique, voici Manuel expédié dès le lendemain sur le practice du Tremblay, à Champigny. Là, il tombe sur un type en train de racler désespérément un tapis, méditant probablement cet aphorisme du comédien britannique Ted Ray : «Le golf est une activité fascinante, cela m’a pris presque quarante ans pour découvrir que je ne savais pas y jouer.»

Avisant l’intrus noir et unijambiste, il lui tend son club et son seau de balles : «Ça vous dirait d’essayer ?»

Manuel balance ses quatre premiers drives ( coups à longue distance) à plus de 200 mètres, ce qui le surprend lui-même. L’autre type ne l’est pas moins et, quelques heures plus tard, raccompagnant Manuel à Paris en voiture, il lui conseille de ne pas lâcher l’affaire. Il en suffit d’un pour nous racheter tous, mes frères ! Depuis, Manuel joue presque tous les jours. Son swing (vidéos disponibles sur Dailymotion) est fluide et puissant. C’est une gifle à la face de la corporation des professeurs de golf, qui n’ont que le mot «transfert» à la bouche : le secret du golf, disent-ils, est de bien transférer son poids du pied droit au pied gauche pendant le mouvement. C’est avec les longs fers que Manuel se sent le plus à l’aise, une appétence qui lui permet d’affronter des parcours étroits et piégeux comme celui de Béthemont (Yvelines) sans trop y perdre de sa joie de revivre.

Publicité. Son équilibre pendant le swing, il l’assure en réglant le mouvement du haut de son corps sur le poids de la tête du club. Un peu comme au lancer du disque. Il utilise des manches «extra-stiff», équivalent golfique de la barre à mine. Il drive à 270 mètres. Amateur, Manuel de Los Santos n’est pas payé pour jouer au golf, mais quelques sponsors et amis – Callaway, Allianz, la Fédération française de golf, l’association Handigolf, etc. – lui rendent la vie sur le circuit plus facile. Il souhaite devenir professeur (celui-là ne nous serinera pas la litanie du «transfert») et continuer à faire baisser son index jusqu’à des valeurs négatives. Jamais, pour un sportif, Bordeaux n’aura tant ressemblé à la terre promise. «Je reviens de loin, d’un endroit où la vie était finie, dit le chaleureux Manuel dans un français de moins en moins hésitant. Sur un parcours, je me sens comme Superman.»

Manuel de Los Santos n’est en rien une publicité vivante pour le handisport. C’est un miraculé du golf au milieu d’une armée de sinistrés.

Edouard Launet

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