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Polish Paralympian gets global award

06.09.2021 23:45
Poland's Katarzyna Rogowiec, a former Paralympic cross-country skiing champion, has won the I'mPOSSIBLE award from the International Paralympic Committee for contributing to a more inclusive world.  
Katarzyna Rogowiec
Katarzyna RogowiecPAP/ITAR-TASS Veremeichik Konstantin

The prestigious accolade was presented at the closing ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games on Sunday, with just one male and one female para-athlete from around the globe decorated for bringing about a more disability-inclusive reality, Poland's PAP news agency reported.

Rogowiec, now 44, lost both forearms in a farming accident at the age of three, yet through studious rehabilitation she learned to live independently.

Thanks to extraordinary persistence, she managed to obtain an economics degree, learned English and Italian, and became a travel guide.

While at university, Rogowiec also caught the sporting bug. Following a less than successful period in para-athletics, she found her forte in the grueling sport of cross-country skiing. 

Hard work began to pay off as she qualified for the relay race at the 2002 Paralympic Games in Salt Lake City and won her first world championships medals a year later. 

Her crowning success came when Rogowiec won the 5km and 15km events at the Turin Paralympics in 2006. To this she added a bronze medal at the Vancouver Games four years later.

Katarzyna Rogowiec in action at the Vancouver Paralympic Games in 2010. Katarzyna Rogowiec in action at the Vancouver Paralympic Games in 2010. Photo: EPA/BONNY MAKAREWICZ

After retirement, she represented para-athletes in the International Paralympic Committee and also worked with the global and Polish anti-doping agencies.

The former champion also set up her own foundation to show children and young people that there is life with disability and sport is a boon for everyone, public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported.

"Sport changed everything in my life and taught me so much," Rogowiec said.

"Mainly it boosted my strength, confidence and freedom, and gave me the conviction that I don't have to hide these hands of mine, I can be myself,"  she added.

Because of pandemic-related restrictions, Rogowiec could not collect the award herself in Tokyo, the IAR news agency reported.

Łukasz Szeliga, who heads the Polish Paralympic Committee, received the award on her behalf.


Source: IAR