SPORTS, FITNESS & DANCE

Boccia

Cerebral Palsy (CP)

Eldar Yusupov

About me

My name is Eldar, I'm a 27 years old. I was born with beautiful eyes, a gentle face, a cute nose and Cerebral Palsy. Part of my brain is paralyzed therefore all my life I am speaking with my eyes, one finger and a lot of heart. I've was born in Uzbekistan and I can summarize my first 12 years with the phrase "staying at home". All day long I sat at home, not going to school, as there were no special or inclusive place for people with disabilities nearby. I sat in front of four walls and one ceiling for 12 years watching through the window how children of my age were going to school together. I don’t need to explain how this made me feel. Many times I would imagine a lesson and myself sitting in a classroom answering answers on a chalkboard or talking with a teacher.

"On"

My imagination and dreams became a reality when I immigrated to the state of Israel with my parents. This was the first time I went to school. My first school was named "ON". Funny enough the name is exactly how I felt- that someone just pressed my power on and gave me a chance to make it in this world. I remember that I was so excited in the evening before studies begun, that I organized my school bag hundreds of times over and over. The funny thing is that the following day, the school year didn’t start as the education system went on Strike! Can you believe It? In school as I was very physically disabled, I discovered that only by learning & improving my brain and communication skills I will change the course of my life.

Disabled to enabled

From disabled to enabled. I fought my way changing to an inclusive school called MAROM in order to receive a graduate certification like everyone else and position myself as equal. In the beginning it was not easy to hang out as the students physically were regular and I'm not good looking like Brad Pitt…but I was happy to discover that they were happy to see me as a regular class mate and learn with me.. yes sometimes cheating by looking into my exam answers. I was so equal that even when there were cleaning hours, they made me take my turn to throw the garbage. Even when I told them that they are exploiting Handicapped people here- Didn’t work I had to do it. Well fair is fair. I made all of my studies and exams with my communication board finishing with a 103 average grade. After High school, I wanted to learn in the university. I I scheduled a meeting with dean of the university wholooked at me with a disbelief, as she thought I was not up to the challenge. I told her that I am waiting for her confirmation to approve my application, and if not I'm going to stay in her room to sleep until she does so as my grades are sufficient enough. Well it worked. Two years ago I finished my BA.

Finding work

The tough side was finding a place to work for as I was sending my CV but due to my limitation, didn’t get any positive answers. A friend of mine recommended me to share my story with a short film on the web, and asked friends to share it. It was a smash hit! I woke up the following day like a movie star. I was interviewed on national TV, got many job offerings and even was in the newspaper. Lately I have changed jobs into a part time one and I am enhancing websites based on videos. Last May I started living alone with my caregiver. My parents took it very hard but it was important for me to make the move towards being independent. I love them greatly for all they have done for me, but there is a time you need to be brave make my choices, learn from my own mistakes and find my place in this world. It proved to be the right decision.

Boccia champ

I have started practicing adaptive sports in a club called Spivak which also supports Paralympic and special Olympic athletes. As a Russian wanting to always be number one in everything I am doing, I actually tried everything, Table Tennis which I lost to everyone, Judo which I was thrown like a drone by the girls… even swimming! But then I discovered Boccia! In the first season I lost 14 games in a row, one win that was actually a technical one as my competitor didn’t show up. But this new hobby made me learn a lot about life and myself, how to deal with difficulties, be consistent, precise and never give up. After 27 years and in my second year in Bocci, ,I won my first tournament and became a champion!

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