All people are born with different abilities, that we can all agree on. When life goes on, we are shaped by events and choices which gives us different experiences and knowledge. Being born with a disability can be tough to handle but with the will and the right coaching you can be an athlete of world class despite your disabilities. The same goes for people who are affected by trauma in life or get a disease or end up in an accident leading to a disability. The will to measure to others can be lifechanging to people and some of our most successful disabled athletes say that it has been what saved them from going under.
The Iranian Morteza Mehrzad is not only the star of the Iranian Paralympic sitting volleyball team, but also the second tallest person in the world. Morteza measures 2 metres and 46 cm (8ft 1in) and during the summer games in 2016 he did 28 points in the final. Iran has since the end of the ´80s been a factor in the Paralympic sitting volleyball. The only country that has been able to match them is the Bosnian team. Between 2010 and 2016, these two teams played each other in the finals every time and it was an even match every time. In the final in 2016, there was class difference between the teams, the difference was Morteza Merzad. Morteza was discovered by chance by coach Hadi Rezaei, coach for the Iranian sitting volleyball team, when he by coincidence saw a TV show about people with extraordinary abilities. Morteza has a disease called Acromegaly which implicates an overproduction of growth hormone. Rezaei saw the potential in Morteza, that had never even tried sitting volleyball prior, and made him try. This particular premieres skills and precision, but nothing can beat length and range. This is something Morteza has plenty of. He is measured to 193cm while sitting. His participation in the Paralympics has made him a star in his country and Rezaei means he is going to be the best player ever when he has just reached 50% of his potential. The future is at his feet.
Helene is a Swedish athlete in parasport. She has competed with the elite in swimming, skiing and canoeing. As a fifteen-year-old Helene got cancer in her right leg and was forced to amputate above the knee. She started swimming and won lots of medals in Swedish races and in the European championships. In the Paralympics of summer 1992 she ended up at a fifth place. She stopped competing in 1993 when she suffered from injuries. She educated herself in home decorations and started working with that. In 2003 she met her husband, Ronnie Pettersson, a very active Swedish athlete, who raised her interest in sports again. She started canoeing, cycling and skiing. With several medals and podium placings in the luggage she ended up as number six in the IPC Nordic skiing. At the Paralympics winter games in Sotji, Helene won a gold medal in 15km classic skiing. In the summer of 2015, she tried canoeing for the first time and with a place in the finals of the World championships in 2016 she was directly qualified to the Paralympics summer games in Rio where she ended up as number five in the finals. The same summer she won a gold medal at the European championships in Moscow. At first Helene’s canoeing was meant as a complement to her training for skiing. After the gold in the World Championships in 2018 she announced her resignation, at 47 years of age, from sports.