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PIISPANEN Toni
Sport Para athletics
NPC Finland   
GenderMen
Age42
Place of BirthHollola, FIN
Human Interest
Impairment Information
Type of Impairment
Spinal Cord Injuries
Origin of Impairment
Acquired
Classification
T51
Further Personal Information
Marital status
Married
Family
Wife Anu, daughters Saga and Unna-Liina
Residence
Helsinki, FIN
Occupation
Public Servant
Languages
English, Finnish
Higher education
Sport Management - University of Jyvaskyla: Finland
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport?
He took up wheelchair rugby two years after his accident and played for 15 years. In 2010 he also began wheelchair racing.
Why this sport?
"I have always been quick and I wanted a challenge on the side of wheelchair rugby."
Club / Team
Espoon Tapiot: Finland
Name of coach
Heini Sistonen [personal], FIN, from 2017
Senior International Debut
Year
2010
Competing for
Finland
General Interest
Nicknames
Rasmus ["I got it from a wheelchair rugby staff person who thought for two years that my name was Rasmus"]. (Athlete, 25 Aug 2011)
Hobbies
Public speaking. (Athlete, 20 Aug 2018)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning a gold medal in the T51 100m at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. (Athlete, 20 Aug 2018)
Most influential person in career
His father. (Athlete, 20 Aug 2018)
Hero / Idol
Finnish boxer Amin Asikainen. (Athlete, 20 Aug 2018)
Injuries
He suffered from a persistent shoulder injury during the lead-up to the 2016 Paralympic Games. In October 2016 he underwent surgery on his right shoulder, and was unable to train until January 2017. (Instagram profile, 01 Jan 2017, 06 Oct 2016; yle.fi, 13 Sep 2016)

He sustained injuries to his hand and his shoulder in 2015. (yleisurheilu.fi, 15 Mar 2016)

In January 2015 he underwent surgery on his left elbow. (tonipiispanen.fi, 01 Feb 2015)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"The best athletes train even when others aren't watching." (Athlete, 25 Aug 2011)
Awards and honours
He was named Para Athlete of the Year in 2012 and 2015 by the Espoon Tapiot sports club in Finland. He also received the same award at the 2013 Finnish Sports Gala. (espoontapiot.fi, 15 Nov 2015; herbalifespotlight.com, 2014)
Other sports
He competed in the Finnish national karate team before his accident. He has also competed at two European championships in wheelchair rugby. (paralympic.org, 09 Jul 2017; Athlete, 20 Aug 2018; 25 Aug 2011)
Ambitions
To compete at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (paralympic.org, 09 Jul 2017)
Impairment
He sustained a spinal cord injury in an accident at a karate show in 1993. He was injured in front of 700 spectators at the sport hall in Lahti, Finland. (Athlete, 25 Aug 2011; 20 Aug 2018)
Other information
OCCUPATION
He works for the Finnish Ministry of Education and Ministry of Culture. (Facebook profile, 06 Jul 2018; Athlete, 20 Aug 2018)

Competition Highlights (historical)
Paralympic Games
Rank Year Event Result
1 2012 100m T51 21.72
4 2016 100m T51 22.02
6 2016 400m T51 1:30.27
World Championships
Rank Year Event Result
3 2011 200m T51 49.19
2 2011 100m T51 22.71
1 2013 100m T51 22.59
2 2013 200m T51 40.90
2 2015 100m T51 21.43
3 2015 400m T51 1:28.25
2 2017 100m T51 21.54
European Championships
Rank Year Event Result
1 2014 400m T51 1:35.97
1 2014 100m T51 23.56
2 2016 100m T51 20.92
3 2016 400m T51 1:25.98
2 2018 100m T51 23.44
2 2018 200m T51 42.49