A Disabled Person Has Much More to Conquer. Their Fears and Their Lack of Belief, Especially in Romania. Knowing That I Have Helped Them Achieve Their Dream Is the Best Feeling in the World - - Paralympic Pioneer Sally Wood Lamont; EXPAT'S PRIDE AS HER PARALYMPIC TEAM GO FOR GLORY AGAINEx-Librarian's Battle to Win Equal Rights for Her Athletes as They Gear Up for Rio Games

Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland), January 10, 2016 | Go to article overview

A Disabled Person Has Much More to Conquer. Their Fears and Their Lack of Belief, Especially in Romania. Knowing That I Have Helped Them Achieve Their Dream Is the Best Feeling in the World - - Paralympic Pioneer Sally Wood Lamont; EXPAT'S PRIDE AS HER PARALYMPIC TEAM GO FOR GLORY AGAINEx-Librarian's Battle to Win Equal Rights for Her Athletes as They Gear Up for Rio Games


Byline: Heather Greenaway

When Romania's paralympic team step out in the Olympic stadium in Rio this year, they will be cheered on by the Scot who made it all possible - Sally Wood Lamont.

The ex-librarian from Edinburgh is president of Romania's National Paralympic Committee and has been championing disabled athletes in the former communist country for 20 years.

Sally, 66, is getting ready to take at least 10 Romanian paralympians to Brazil in August and is confident of a medal haul.

This is an incredible achievement for a country that often treats its disabled athletes like second-class citizens.

The feat is largely due to the Scot's hard work and dedication. Sally, who built one of Romania's first disability sports clubs, is proud of the team.

She said: "In Romania, the attitude is to look after disabled people, not let them live.

"I wanted to change that by teaching them to live independently and achieve their potential through sport and that is just what they have done.

"A disabled person has even more to do, much more to conquer, their fear, their lack of belief in themselves.

"They've got the motivation to prove that they are equal to other sportsmen. Sport has changed their lives. It has integrated them into society.

"My team have worked so hard to qualify and deserve their place.

"Nothing beats the feeling you get when an athlete steps on to the podium to receive a medal. You can see their emotion as they realise they have achieved their dream.

"Knowing you have played a part in getting them there is incredible."

Five Romanian paralympians competed in 2012 in London with cyclist Eduard Novak powering to gold in the velodrome. He also won Romania's other medal - a silver in the road race event.

Sally, who became president of the committee in 2009, is hoping for more glory for her stars in Rio.

She said: "Three Romanian athletes went to Beijing, we had five in London and at the moment there are 10 going to Rio but we might end up with 12.

"We have qualified in canoeing, cycling, table tennis, athletics, swimming and judo and there is a chance of qualification in archery."

Five of those off to Rio are members of the Lamont Sports Centre, set up by Sally in 2000 when she discovered the dearth of sports facilities.

Although, disability sports in Romania are going from strength to strength, paralympic athletes don't get the same privileges or benefits as their Olympic counterparts. …

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A Disabled Person Has Much More to Conquer. Their Fears and Their Lack of Belief, Especially in Romania. Knowing That I Have Helped Them Achieve Their Dream Is the Best Feeling in the World - - Paralympic Pioneer Sally Wood Lamont; EXPAT'S PRIDE AS HER PARALYMPIC TEAM GO FOR GLORY AGAINEx-Librarian's Battle to Win Equal Rights for Her Athletes as They Gear Up for Rio Games
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