Raluca Bragarea

Raluca Bragarea

Head of Communications, Bucharest

Part of Stay Ahead of the Games UK in Romania

21st May 2012 Bucharest, Romania

Meet the Romanian Paralympians!

Florin Cojoc, Romanian Paralympian (long jump)
Florin Cojoc, Romanian Paralympian (long jump)

I invited a special lady to guest star on my blog on this very special day. Today we mark 100 days to go until the opening of the Paralympic Games, so there is no better time to meet the extraordinary Paralympic team then directly from Sally Wood Lamont, the President of the Romanian Paralympic Committee!

The Romanian Paralympic team going to London in 2012 will be the largest ever as it will consist of 9 athletes, three times the size of the Beijing team! Florin Cojoc (Iasi) will compete in the Long Jump and just ten days ago he participated in the Croatian Athletics Championships, where he won the gold with a personal best jump of 6.30m, putting him in 6th place in the world rankings. The cycling team comprises Eduard Novak and Imre Torok (both from Miercuri Ciuc). Eduard, now the current World Champion in both the road and track event, is anticipating a gold medal in either of these events in London.

Florin Cojoc, Romanian Paralympian (long jump)
Florin Cojoc, Romanian Paralympian (long jump)

The swimming team has three swimmers qualified – Samuel and Naomi Ciorap (Cluj), brother and sister and Georgiana Bazdoaca but we are still hoping for two more – Valentin Velecico and Petre Prundaru (both from Cluj). The swimming qualification period will end on the 21st May and then we shall have to wait until mid June to know whether all five will be able to go.

Romanian team of paralympic swimmers
Romanian team of paralympic swimmers

The table tennis team has one athlete qualified, Dacian Makszin (Cluj) while Gabriela Constantin (Bucharest) still has an outside chance to go as a reserve. Romanian athlets are are also active in wheelchair tennis, where Ciprian Anton is the star. In spite the fact that Ciprian did not to qualify, we are still hoping he may receive a Bipartite Invitation which would mean our team would represent five sports, again a first!

I am very proud of the team, the performances are extraordinary and I am keeping my fingers crossed for the remaining of the qualifications! I hope you will all join me in supporting them! I would be really curios to know what to think of the team, so if you have any questions for us please leave them in the Comments and will get back to you!

Edi Novak, Romanian Paralympian (cyclist)
Edi Novak, Romanian Paralympian (cyclist)

The Paralympic Games take place between 29 August – 9 September 2012 in London.

Sally Wood Lamont
President, Romanian Paralympic Committee

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2 comments on “Meet the Romanian Paralympians!

  1. Dear Ms Raluca Bragarea and Ms Sally Wood Lamont,

    I read, with interest your blog on the Facebook page of the British Embassy in Romania. It is certainly inspiring to see that Romania plans to send a team of nine athletes in its Paralympic team for London 2012. It is evident that sport for disabled people in Romania is developing and opportunities for participation have increased. I also read about the Sally Lamont centre in Cluj – a wonderful resource and organization to have promoting a more ‘inclusive society’ here in Romania.
    Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the Fundatia Inocentia Bistrita – Olympiad VI 2012. This event is a special Olympics for children across the county which encourages individual participation in sporting activities for children with physical and mental disabilities and encourages celebration of their abilities and talents. It was an experience which I will treasure for a long time.
    I was particularly impressed by the involvement of the local community. A team of 50 young volunteers were trained by the Inocenti team to co ordinate events and help the children to participate, thus developing empathy and understanding. Fundatia Inocenti in Bistrita are training and developing the characters of a whole generation in the community to recognize that people are individuals and are not defined by their abilities and disabilities, a fantastic initiative. Throughout the afternoon, I experienced teenagers who were engaged, empathetic, patient, affectionate, sensitive to the needs of others, developing their communication and organizational skills – the list goes on and on.
    Of course, the children are a range of ages, from the very young to older teens. But it was apparent that the children were being given the opportunity to come together to enjoy sport and have fun in a supportive and structured environment, whilst at the same time involving the community and promoting understanding of the disabled minority.
    For some of the children who participated, this annual event may be the only time in their young lives that they have the opportunity to be involved in sporting games and it is the highlight of their year.For others it may be the spark that develops a longer term interest in sport. Some of the children were extremely competitive and focused already. The increase in self belief, the desire to challenge yourself, performance improvement, focus, resilience; all of these things may come later but the Special Olympics is a wonderful start.
    It is therefore with a hopeful heart that I look forward to seeing the future for these children. Maybe some of them will later benefit from the work of the Lamont centre and their initiatives. Wouldn’t that be something special?

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About Raluca Bragarea

I joined the British Embassy in 2004, and have ever since enjoyed one of the most diverse and challenging jobs as a professional communicator, from partnering up with MTV Romania…

I joined the British Embassy in 2004, and have ever since
enjoyed one of the most diverse and challenging jobs as a professional
communicator, from partnering up with MTV Romania to promote the UN
anti-poverty agenda to handling Prince Charles’ press conference on a
hill top in picturesque Transylvania. One of the highlights working for
the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has been the introduction of an
internship scheme in the Embassy; we bring along students from various
backgrounds to help us deliver our objectives while they get a unique
opportunity to learn hands-on about diplomacy.
I am a former TV journalist, specialising in foreign affairs, and a
Fulbright scholar. I hold a Master of Arts in Information and
Communication Studies with California State University at Chico.
I am a major cafe latte fan and like to collect hand-painted icons.
My other hobbies include travelling and watching movies with friends,
particularly Quentin Tarantino’s. The latest memorable film I watched
was District 9, a superb science fiction with a social twist – anybody
seen it?

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