When sport don’t change your life

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WPS_ITA_Daniele_ZottiWe will take you by the hand, from here to the main week of the races, to the Lignano stage of the Paraswimming World Series: to know what it will be, to hear its stories, to fall in love with the atmosphere and the athletes. Here then is the story of one of the people behind: away from the limelight, hidden, silent. But fundamental. There are many reasons behind the choice of a person, who decides to put his time at the disposal of others without asking for anything in return. Volunteer, they call it: and this is a word that hides a thousand. Daniele Zotti does not like to talk, he does not like to appear, he does not like to show off: he taunts, almost intimidated, when we try to make him talk about himself.Also because – he says – mine is not a special story: I was 17, when an accident at work took away my right arm and changed my life.

Changed, how and how much?

“I like to talk more about what has remained exactly as before: my love for sport, for example. I’ve always swum, water is my natural element: I think my mother gave birth to me in the water. I swam like a fish before the accident, I continued to swim after the accident: because beauty is the same, emotions are the same. The beauty of swimming without ever getting tired in the pool, the beauty of surprising yourself in front of the indescribable colors of the coral reef in Sharm. I’m fine there, I’m fine in the water.

How important was sport in your life after the accident?

“Sport was essential, I don’t know how I would have done without it. But sport is always essential, always and in any case, for everyone: I swam at a competitive level before the accident, I didn’t see why I should stop doing it later ”.

Was it simple?

“Please, don’t joke: I was 17, I had in mind to take the car, I had ideas and dreams. The incident made me collapse on the world, as I believe is normal. However, also and above all thanks to sport, I got up day after day ”.

And how did it go?

I met a guy without an arm who ran the marathons, registered with the Aspea of ​​Padua: it was he who insisted, convinced me, provoked me. So, I decided to go and try: not swimming, initially, but athletics. Because I was also quite fast, I did the 100 meters in 11 seconds and 5 … That’s it, so I entered the Paralympic world: a world from which I haven’t come out yet. First as an athlete, then as an executive, eventually as an organizer of events like the one in Lignano.

Let’s talk about what will happen in a few weeks: do you describe it in three lines?

The world in a pool, an event as wonderful as it is complicated to organize: there are so many things to do and predict, things that one cannot imagine from the outside. But the final result, the satisfaction that comes when the last light is extinguished, the smiles you receive every day: all these things repay with interest from every renunciation, from every sacrifice, from every anger, from every hour of lost sleep.

 

Francesco Caielli

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