Not just paralympic athletes: Assunta Legnante

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Assunta wearing the gold medal at the Paralympics in London, 2012

And now we move on to female throwers!
We have interviewed Oney Tapia, next up we have Assunta.

Assunta Legnante was born in Naples in 1978 and she is a strong willful woman. In 2009, she starts losing her eyesight due to congenital glaucoma, and this threatens her sporting career. In fact, in 2004, despite having obtained the right to participate in the Olympic games in Athens, CONI denies her this opportunity. The reason for that choice was that she was considered as “physically unsuitable” because she was showing signs of an increased eye pressure.
Thanks to her dedication, Assunta makes it in the Paralympic world. On May 11, 2012, she takes part in the Italian Track and Field Championships, smashing the world record for weight throw and easily entering the London Paralympics.
Despite her back problems and a surgery for a herniated disc, she keeps on training hard in order to be ready for the Paralympic games in Rio in 2016, being aware she is not in shape as she was 4 years ago.

But what were Assunta’s hopes and dreams and what results did she achieve thanks to sports? The following are a few questions we asked her:

1) As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? What was your dream?

When I was a little girl my biggest dream was to become less shy. I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up and I didn’t dream big. But sport has always been a way to be with people and become stronger.

2) Who was your mentor?

I didn’t have a proper mentor, I had a wonderful family instead, that supported me and let me follow my dreams telling me to always do what I loved to do.

3) What is more important, ambition or talent?

When you’re an athlete, ambition and talent go hand in hand. The important thing is not contenting yourself with having just a great talent and therefore underestimating hard work. You should always learn from others and ambition must be a one of the most important values to an athlete, because there’s always room for improvement.

4) What does sport mean to you?

Sport equals having fun and entertaining people. My goal has always been that. Sport allowed me to mature, taught me what losing means and it’s because of sport that I am as I am.

5) What is the weirdest thing that ever happened to you during a competition?

Luckily (or unfortunately) competitions are not weird. But taking part in a competition is always amazing: even when you think you’re not ready or you don’t feel very well, it could be one and done and you could achieve new results and victories.

6) What is your greatest accomplishment in life so far?

I think my biggest accomplishment so far has been facing my disease with a serene attitude and changing my life without even realizing it, starting a second life.

7) Tell me about your biggest let-down

Sporting events can be full of let-downs, but the biggest one for me has been not joining the Olympics in Athens in 2004. I think it scarred me for life. Nevertheless, it just made me stronger and made me wanted to train more.

8) What kind of cellphone do you use? What are your favorite apps?

I’ve got an iPhone 5 and my favorite apps are social and journalistic apps. I follow sporting events, news… you know, all that.

9) What technology helps you the most in your everyday life?

My cellphone helps me the most. It’s like having a second hand, almost as having eyes again. I use it a lot, mostly to remain in touch with the rest of the world.

10) Do you use any apps to monitor your performance during sport?

No, I don’t use any apps to monitor my training. My specialties are discus and weight throwing, I don’t need an app to check my results.

11) What do you expect from your participation in the Paralympics in Rio?

I just expect to do what I do best. Unfortunately, I have a back problem which has affected me since a year and a half ago and I am not in perfect physical condition as in London, but I can win even without having to break a world record, one centimeter more and the medal will be mine.

Assunta’s first discus throwing competition worked out well, but it was not enough to make her step up to the podium. In fact, she came in fourth with a toss of 31.51 meters. However, we should remember she is a weight throwing star. Assunta is the world record-holder of Paralympic weight throwing with a toss of 17,32 meters (Padova, 2014). In this Paralympic games she won the gold medal with a throw of 15.74 meters!

We congratulate her on the results obtained and we wish her a pleasant stay in Rio!

Assunta Legnante with the Italian flag

Assunta Legnante’s Facebook Fanpage

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Sofia Zuccalà
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Sofia Zuccalà

I'm a 23 years old MSc student in Communication of Science and Sustainable Innovation and I am a communication lover. I have a BSc in Communication, Innovation and Multimedia and at the moment I'm writing for several blogs about technology, science and current news.
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