By David Gold

Francois Hollande_with_Paralympic_athletes_at_receptionSeptember 22 - French President François Hollande has praised the country's Paralympians who competed at London 2012 at a special ceremony held at the Elysée Palace even though it was their worst performance for 48 years. 

France finished the Paralympics with eight gold medals, 19 silver and 18 bronze, finishing 16th in the medal table.

It was their lowest ever position and represented the fewest gold medals won by France since the Paralympics in Tokyo in 1964 when they collected four gold medals. 

Their most successful athlete at London 2012 was Assia El Hannouni, who won two gold medals in the women's T12 200 and 400 metres events.

France won two more athletics gold medals, another two in swimming and one each in powerlifting and shooting.

Assia El_Hannouni_wins_T12_200m_London_September_6_2012Assia El Hannouni was France's most successful Paralympian at London 2012 with gold medals in the T12 200m and 400m

"I went to London for the first Olympic Games, and then for the Paralympic Games," said Hollande.

"I was not able to see all the achievements, but I thank you for whenever I came, gold medals were awarded to many of you.

"I add my congratulations to all that has been done, all the work that was yours, all this preparation, all this effort, all this concern that was yours before the competition.

"Whenever you won a medal you did it for yourself, but you have done it also for your country, for values that go beyond the mere accomplishment.

"The values of commitment, exemplary of work, discipline and solidarity."

The French President was not the only one unable to see all of the country's Paralympic success this summer, but unlike many he at least had the chance.

There was controversy in France as unlike many other countries, there was little coverage of the Paralympics in their sports papers and on television.

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