The first Romanian parasnowboarder at the Paralympics
ABOUT MIHAITA PAPARA
On the 3rd of September 2005, when I was 25 years old,I became disabled. While I was driving on a road that I’ve regularly been to, I tried to overtake a vehicle, but I couldn’t make it. I still don’t know if the driver didn’t see me or if he didn’t let me pass intentionally. I avoided the impact with his car, but on the other hand, I hit the metallic fence, situated on the other side of the road. The end of the fence was not secured. It pierced the radiator, it came beside the engine block, it came through the board, under the steering wheel, through the seat, through my body, and came out through the passenger door. Few minutes before the impact, I had just taken two hitchhickers from Borsec and fortunately, I was the only one injured.
An unpredictive change of trajectory represented a radical change of meaning in my life. The new direction given to me on that day, made me step up differently. From then on, I’m redefining myself, redescovering life, designing the reasons for being grateful that I’m alive and having the chance to embrace it again.
After I was discharged from the hospital, I was searching for information about what a physical disability means, what the process of recovery implies and what did the others do, before me. Unfortunately, in my mother tongue (Romanian), I found very little information. For this reason, in 2007, I founded with my parents Mihăiță Papară NGO, and created the AsocPM website, in order to inform and offer support for the people who have physical disabilities, and their families.
During my recovery process, I received enormous support from my family and close friends. Meanwhile, I’ve focused myself on physical activities like: swimming, diving, horse riding, climbing, paragliding, and then, snowboarding. Thanks to my sister and my brother-in-law, in 2007, I used a snowboard for the first time after the amputation. They were frequently going on the mountain and that day, they insisted that I should come too. I’ve started snowboarding and the experience was impressive, but in the same time, difficult to handle, because of the painfull falls and the overexhertion. Even though it was hard, the experience helped me realize it is possible and it was a challenge that I really enjoyed taking. It determined me to compete with myself, to find myself, to develop physical capacities and regain my confidence. Practicing sports has had a major positive impact on the recovery process and reintegration into society.
In January 2016, along with Dan Marcu (my coach), Laura Văleanu and Ionel Lungu (my colleagues from the Romanian Winter Paralympic Team) we organized the first national demonstrative winter sports, dedicated to disabled people. The participants – both children and adults, were helped out by the Fresh-Meat instructors. The sincere reactions of joy and fulfillment of the participants represented the greatest success of the event.
My mission is to prove in a practical way that the power of example works and I want to empower people, by convincing them that practicing sports substantially contributes to increasing the quality of life. It also facilitates the inclusion or accelerated reintegration into society. So far, we demonstrated that #ItIsPossible! It is possible to practice high impact sports, to reach an elite level, to do it in Romania and to do it despite having a disability!
2017 - 2018 COMPETITIONS
09 – 18 Martie – Jocurile Olimpice de Iarnă PyeongChang, Coreea de Sud
05 Februarie 2018 – Finala Cupelor Mondiale Banked Slalom – Big White, Canada
08 Februarie 2018 – Finala Cupelor Mondiale Snowboardcross – Big White, Canada
14 Noiembrie 2017 – Cupa Europei Banked Slalom – Landgraaf, Olanda
15 Noiembrie 2017 – Cupa Mondială Banked Slalom 1 – Landgraaf, Olanda
16 Noiembrie 2017 – Cupa Mondială Banked Slalom 2 – Landgraaf, Olanda
20 – 30 Noiembrie – Tabără de antrenament, Finlanda
30 Noiembrie 2017 – Cupa Mondială Snowboardcross 1 – Phya, Finlanda
03 Decembrie – Cupa Mondială Snowboardcross 2 – Phya, Finlanda
15 – 30 Decembrie 2017 – Tabără de antrenament, România
01 – 12 Ianuarie 2018 – Tabără de antrenament, România
20 – 30 Ianuarie 2018 – Tabără de antrenament, România
23.10.2017 – 06.11. 2017 – Tabără de antrenament, Austria
10 – 25 Februarie 2018 – Tabără de antrenament, Austria
Banked Slalom, World Cup Finals – Big White, Canada
Snowboard Cross, World Cup Finals – Big White, Canada
Snowboard Cross, World Cup – Phya, Finlanda
Snowboard Cross, World Cup – Phya, Finlanda
THE FIRST PARASNOWBOARDER FROM THE ROMANIAN WINTER PARALYMPIC TEAM
In 2014, I started taking part in international parasnowboard competitions (LL1 category). The first official competition was the European Cup, in the Netherlands – Landgraaf. In 2015, I became a member of the Romanian Winter Paralympic Team. Along with my couch, Dan Marcu – founder of Fresh-Meat Team, we envisage considerable and continuous progress.
Until now, I took part in 23 European and international competitions. Being ranked in TOP 10 Banked Slalom and Snowboard Cross World Cup Finals, I’ve obtained the qualification for the Winter Paralympic Games from South Korea, in national premiere.
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