Winter Paralympic Utrechters go for gold in Sochi

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The 2014 Winter Paralympics have been brought to an official start in Sochi just one month after the regular Winter Olympic games.

Three Utrechters will be taking part this year. Lisa Bunschoen is an 18 year old para-snowboarder with a prosthetic left leg. She decided to undergo amputation in November of 2011 to part with the symptoms of her condition caused by fibula aplasia. “I learned snowboarding in 2010. Since the amputation, I’ve got even better at the sport.”

Our second athlete is the 41 year old Bibian Mentel who is also a para-snowboarder. Bibian has already got a number of titles to her name having won the half-pipe and cross snowboarding a combined total of six times. Bibian was diagnosed with an aggressive form of bone cancer in 2002 which resulted in the amputation of her lower right arm. “During my revalidation, I stepped back on my snowboard and came to the conclusion that it was very much different.”

The 26 year old Bart Verbruggen is the third athlete to have made his way to Sochi. Bart specializes in alpine skiing despite being born prematurely in 1988. His condition includes spastic reaction in the left side of his body over which he frequently has poor motor control. Despite this, he did manage to achieve fourth place during the World Champion Alpine Skiing in February this year. “Skiing has brought me a lot of independence and stamina. I’ve got two brothers, and I’m always striving to be better than them.”

Let’s wish our fellow Utrechters all the best in their quest for gold at the Paralympics this year.

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Michael Darmanin

Michael is founder and managing editor of He graduated in Communications and Media at the Hogeschool Utrecht in the summer of 2012. He specializes in Web Development, Content Management and Online Marketing. Interested in co-operation? We are open to all kinds of suggestions. Contact us!

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