Para-athlete encourages disabled youth to compete

His sports success has only fed his ambition, says swimmer Matz Topkin (20), he is set on competing in the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

Marian Männi
Marian Männi Eesti Ekspress, Estonia
Source: Eesti Ekspress
Para-athlete encourages disabled youth to compete - NewsMavens
Matz Topkin, Youtube

Why this story matters:

"Many young people with disabilities don't want to leave their homes. They are afraid of showing themselves," Topkin says. "Instead of being afraid, they should understand that their disability is nobody else's business. Just do whatever you want to do!"

Topkin, who was born with just one leg and no arms, learnt to ignore and forget about being looked at. And the less he cares, the less people stare.

Para sports is gaining popularity in recent years, there are championships and competitions organised all over the world. The people with special needs are coming out to the public, using their bodies in front of thousands of strangers with pride.

20-year-old Matz Topkin won a silver medal at the World Para Swimming Allianz European Championships in Dublin this August. He competed in the 50 meter Backstroke (see the video below).

He has many close friends from para sports competitions, but he says that he is not someone to discriminate -- Topkin has both disabled and non-disabled friends. 

Details from the story:

  • Topkin is attempting to take part in 2020 Summer Paralympics in Tokyo.
  • He has two brothers and two sisters.
  • Topkin's mother has been taking him to the swimming pool since he was three weeks old. After a long break, Topkin picked up swimming again in 2010.
  • He now works out six times a week.
  • Topkin has started studying health promotion at the Tallinn Healthcare Collage.
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