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PAPARA Mihaita
Sport Para snowboard
NPC Romania   
GenderMen
Age41
Height1.80 m
Human Interest
Impairment Information
Type of Impairment
Limb deficiency
Origin of Impairment
Acquired
Classification
SB-LL1
Further Personal Information
Family
Two children
Occupation
Athlete
Languages
English, French, Hungarian, Italian, Romanian
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport?
He began snowboarding in 2001 in Azuga, Romania. After his accident he took up Para snowboarding in December 2007 in Bucin, Romania.
Why this sport?
Having favoured skiing prior to his accident, he decided to pursue Para snowboarding as it was a more comfortable option with a prosthetic leg. "After my accident I was seeking information about people who had gone through similar experiences but had recovered. I found an old photo on the internet, from the 1950s, of the cover of a French magazine depicting four skiers coming down the slope at high speed. All four were amputated above the knee, just like me. This picture helped me a lot as I thought if it was possible with the technology more than half a century ago, I could recover and do winter sports."
Club / Team
Club Sportiv Lamont: Cluj-Napoca, ROU
Name of coach
Dan Marcu [personal], ROU, from 2015; Cristian Piciorea, ROU
Senior International Debut
Year
2014
Competing for
Romania
Tournament
European Cup
Location
Landgraaf, NED
General Interest
Most influential person in career
Gheorghe Tofan, an amputee athlete from his hometown of Harghita, Romania, and Romanian Para alpine skier Laura Valeanu. (noizz.ro, 06 Jun 2017; Athlete, 06 Mar 2018)
Hero / Idol
Romanian Para alpine skier Laura Valeanu, British Para snowboarder Darren Swift. (Athlete, 06 Mar 2018; jurnalul.antena3.ro, 29 Nov 2018)
Injuries
In 2013 he underwent a hernia operation, which was a consequence of his accident in 2005. (redbull.com, 25 May 2016)
Awards and honours
He was Romania's flag bearer at both the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang. (pyeongchang2018.com, 09 Mar 2018; paralympic.org, 18 Mar 2018)
Milestones
In 2018 he became the first male athlete to represent Romania at the Paralympic Winter Games when he competed in Para snowboard in Pyeongchang. (SportsDeskOnline, 07 Jan 2021)
Ambitions
To compete at the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing. (redbull.com, 25 May 2016)
Impairment
In September 2005 he was involved in a car accident, resulting in his left leg being amputated above the knee. (asocpm.ro, Jul 2012; Athlete, 06 Mar 2018)
Other information
OTHER ACTIVITIES
In 2007 he and his parents founded the Mihaita Papara Association, a non-profit organisation which aims to help people with physical impairments. He is also a motivational speaker who has taken part in the Tedx Talks and Urban Talks projects, where he speaks about his life and sporting career. (asocpm.ro, Jul 2012; jurnalul.antena3.ro, 29 Nov 2018; tedxcaleadomneasca.ro, 01 Sep 2018; urban-talks.com, 23 Nov 2017)

OTHER STUDIES
He has a master's degree in private international law from Alexandru Ioan Cuza University in Iasi, Romania. (LinkedIn profile, 01 Oct 2013; Athlete, 06 Mar 2018)

Competition Highlights (historical)
World Championships
Rank Year Event Result
8 2014/2015 Banked Slalom - Lower Limb 1 Impaired 4:31.26
11 2018/2019 Banked Slalom - Lower Limb 1 Impaired 1:08.59
Paralympic Games
Rank Year Event Result
11 2018 Snowboard Cross - Lower Limb 1 Impaired  
11 2018 Banked Slalom - Lower Limb 1 Impaired 1:10.85
World Cup Finals
Rank Year Event Result
7 2015/2016 Snowboard Cross - Lower Limb 1 Impaired  
7 2015/2016 Banked Slalom - Lower Limb 1 Impaired 1:28.91
9 2016/2017 Snowboard Cross - Lower Limb 1 Impaired  
12 2016/2017 Banked Slalom - Lower Limb 1 Impaired  
13 2017/2018 Snowboard Cross - Lower Limb 1 Impaired 1:27.81
10 2017/2018 Banked Slalom - Lower Limb 1 Impaired 2:11.15