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PAPARA Mihaita
Sport Para snowboard
NPC Romania   
GenderMen
Age40
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
Lawyer, Motivational Speaker
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?
"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 Sportiu Lamont: Cluj-Napoca, ROU
Name of coach
Dan Marcu [personal], ROU, from 2015
Training Regime
He incorporates swimming and gym work into his training regime. He and his coach do not live close to each other so they communicate mostly via the internet during the long periods of time that they are apart.
Senior International Debut
Year
2014
Competing for
Romania
Tournament
European Cup
Location
Landgraaf, NED
General Interest
Hobbies
Swimming, climbing, table tennis, cycling. (redbull.com, 25 May 2016)
Memorable sporting achievement
Competing at the Paralympic Winter Games. (Athlete, 06 Mar 2018)
Most influential person in career
Gheorghe Tofan, an amputee athlete from his hometown of Harghita, Romania, and Laura Valeanu, a junior national ski champion. (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, 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)
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 at the thigh. (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 to help people understand and adapt to their physical impairments. He is also a motivational speaker who has taken part in the projects TEDx Talks as well as the Urban Talks, 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, Oct 2013; Athlete, 06 Mar 2018)

NATIONAL FIRST
He is the first Para snowboarder from Romania to compete at the Paralympic Winter Games. (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