Corinne runs for the Paralympic athletes

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“I have always been fortunate in my life by having great people support me on my life path. It is time now for me and now I would be happy to help others outside my immediate family circle and enable other young girls on their journey.” - this is how our conversation with Corinne Klajda started. She is a runner, and she took the decision to participate in one of the toughest ultramarathons in the world, the 4 Deserts Run to show by example that each of us can surpass our limits and inspire other people to action.

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Corinne has been working for Accord Group Poland for the past 22 years. Since 2005, she has been the owner of the company, which specializes in consulting, executive search and recruitment. She was born and raised in Mauritius, which she left in 1989 to take up a university scholarship in China. That’s where she met her husband, Marek. They’ve been living in Poland for more than 20 years, together with their daughters, Kaja and Isabelle.

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After Corinne’s 50th birthday a new chapter began. She wants to live the coming years in an interesting and adventurous way, most importantly by creating value for others. Running has always been her passion, especially over longer distances - she admits that it helps her to clear her mind and challenges her endurance. During a meeting with her friends, Corinne learnt about the 4 Deserts Run, which takes place on four continents. Each stage of this ultramarathon lasts 7 days and the participants must run 250 km. As she loves to travel and has never been afraid of new challenges, it was natural that she decided to try it herself, so she registered for this tough run. The preparations for the event started at the beginning of 2020.

When training became part of her daily routine, Corinne began pondering how she could support others at the same time, which is when the idea of supporting other women was born. One of the organizations that she contacted was Foundation UNAWEZA. Martyna Wojciechowska, the organisation founder and Ambassador of Polish Paralympic athletes, inspired Corinne with stories of their achievements. These extraordinary women, pushing their limits and training hard to achieve their goal – winning a medal at the Paralympic Games – captured Corinne’s heart.

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The fundraising campaign initiated by Corinne aims to collect 250 000 PLN. This amount will help to provide 10 scholarships for 10 Paralympic athletes of 2000 PLN per month for the next 12 months. Many of these women have had to quit their jobs to continue their preparations for international sports events, so this subsidy will allow them to focus on their training without worrying about their material status. For Paralympians, sport means fighting with their limits, and their stories perfectly illustrate that no one should ever give up in life, no matter what.

RENATA KAŁUŻA

Sport has been with me my entire life, but I never participated in a competition. When I was three years old I started cycling and skiing. After an accident in the mountains in 2007 I became interested in sport for disabled people, especially hand-cycling. And one year later I entered my first marathon in Cracow. Later there were other competitions and since 2010 I’ve been in a team which competes worldwide. Before starting I listen to my breathing and my power playlist.

My motto is: “I choose happiness”

Sport: hand-cycling

Disability: Paraplegia

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Most important achievements:

2 silver medals at the Baie-Comeau Canada World Cup (2013)

gold and bronze medal at the Greenville USA World Championships (2014)

2 bronze medals at the Nottwil, Switzerland World Championships (2015)

Rio de Janeiro Paralympics, 4th and 5th place (2016)

silver and bronze medal at the Pietermaritzburg, South Africa World Championships (2017)

silver and bronze medal at the Emmen, Netherlands World Championships (2019)

bronze medal at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics (2021)

JUSTYNA FRANIECZEK

In primary and middle school I had huge problems with studying. I didn’t know why. It turned out I was different to my peers due to how I was born. I’m an intellectually disabled person. This didn’t bother me in training, though. I love sport. I trained with other competitors in general sport and I got good results. However, in 2011 I had a tragic car accident and suffered nearly 30% damage to my health. I decided that I won’t give up, though, and I struggled every day to return to sport. Many operations and rehabilitation procedures, and liters of tears and sweat during training meant that I managed to return. I also won the battle against cancer. This return took eight long years. Ten years on from the accident I proved that #NothingIsImpossible and I won the 2021 Virtus World Championships in Bydgoszcz and the bronze in the World Para Athletics European Championships and I fulfilled my greatest dream and life goal, which is to join the Olympic Family. I’m very happy.

I believe in the power of good and in people. Everyone can be an authority if they’re a good person. Before I start I listen to nature. I’m proud of being here and winning the battle against fate. My most important strength is perseverance.

Motto: #NothingIsImpossible

Sport: athletics

Disability: intellectual

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Greatest success:

  • World Championships 400 m
  • World Championships relay 4×100 m,
  • Participation in 2020 Tokyo Paralympics
  • 3rd place in World Para Athletics 2021 European Championships

Classification: T20

EMILIA BABSKA

When I was 16 me and my parents went for a picnic organized by a club and I fired an air rifle for the first time. One of the ladies noticed I was doing well and asked if I’d like to train. After that event, me and my parents decided to sign me up to a division.

Before I start I listen to my trainer. I’m proud that I’m here.

My most important characteristics are perseverance and application. The people who’ve had the biggest influence on my life are my parents. When I’m not training, I’m bored. Most of all I like spending time with my friends. The best thing I’ve done in my life is to start my sports career.

Motto: "Believe you can do it and you’re already halfway there"

Sport: shooting

Disability: Paraplegia.

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Greatest success:

Qualifying for the Olympics during the World Shooting Para Sport Championships

Most important achievements:

R2 2020 Polish Championships R2, Polish record in the R2 final, Polish record in the R6 final

R2 2019 Polish Championships, Polish record in the R2 final, Olympic qualification during the World Shooting Para Sport Championships

2018 Polish Championships in R2, R3 and R6, Polish record in the R2 final, second place for team event at the Grand Prix for Disabled Shooters

EDYTA OWCZARZ

In 2012 Sister Małgorzata Malska - the head of the non-habit Silent Workers of the Cross Association - launched the meetings of the Inclusive Sports Club of Disabled People (IKSON). We spend the time in different ways, we played board games often, the more able played table tennis, minigolf and table football. We also had access to boccia training balls. They made a makeshift ramp out of PVC pipes for me and a friend and we could also “try our hand”. Boccia started to appeal to us more and more and eventually it pushed out other interests. One year later our club was bought professional - for those times - balls and ramps, and these made it possible for us to play more precisely. The next step was to enter competitions. We started traveling to quite high-ranking competitions, where I could compete with good professionals. Of course I lost a few times, but boccia had me hooked for good. I’m proud that, along with my mom, I represent my town and Poland. The White Eagle on my chest means I’m ready to give more than 100%. My most important strengths are perseverance, exactitude, curiosity and internal calm. When I’m not training… I’m watching and analyzing archive boccia matches. Besides that, I spend a lot of time talking to friends and learning English. But sometimes, after work and training, I only have enough strength left for blissful relaxation. My favorite music is movie music and music from the 70s and 80s. The best thing I’ve done in life is to start an active lifestyle and not stopping with that so that I can have more, or be more — including for other people.

Motto: “In life it’s not about waiting out the storm, but about learning to dance in the rain.”

Sport: BC3 (boccia)

Disability: Movement, complete dependence on other people (SMA)

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Greatest success:

Gold medal in the Pairs BC3 category during the BISFed 2019 Montreal Boccia World Open

PAULINA WOŹNIAK

Thanks to my parents, who wanted to get me used to water, I stopped being afraid of it. I wanted to become a volleyball player but today I can thank the trainer who wouldn’t take me onto his team because I didn’t have one arm. That’s how I ended up swimming. My trainer found the switch that made me fall in love with swimming. Love at second sight. Before starting I listen to powerful but positive music. I’m proud I can help and inspire other people. My most important trait is authenticity. When I’m not training I do crafts.

Motto: Instead of giving up, move forward

Sport: swimming

Disability: congenital lack of left forearm (below elbow)

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Greatest success:

silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics

bronze medal at the 2012 London Paralympics

ALICJA FIODOROW-JEROMIN

My adventure with sport began in 1998 in Radomskie’s “Start” club. My mom Halina competed in running and the long jump when she was young and I wanted to follow in her footsteps. When I was 13 I met trainer Jacek Szczygieł and was asked if I would choose athletics or table tennis. “Since I had to choose, I chose athletics.”

Motto: “Never give up!”

Sport: athletics

Disability: missing left forearm


ALICJA JEROMIN (FIODOROW)

My adventure with sport began in 1998 in Radom's "Start". My mother competed in running and long jump in her youth, and I wanted to follow in her footsteps. At the age of 13, when I met coach Jacek Szczygieł, I was asked if I would choose athletics or table tennis. "Since I had to choose, I decided to go into athletics."

Life motto: ”Never give up”

Sport discipline: athletics

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The most important achievements:

4 silver medals at the Paralympic Games - 200 m run (Beijing 2008, London 2012, Rio de Janeiro 2016) and 200 m run (Rio de Janeiro)

3 bronze medals of the Paralympic Games - 400 m run (Athens 2004, London 2012), 100 m run (Beijing 2008)

World Championship in Assen (2006) in the 400 m run, 2 silver (200 m Assen, 100 m London 2017) and 4 bronze (100 m - Lyon 2013, Doha 2015, 200 m - Lyon 2013, 400 m - Christchurch 2011) World Championships medals in athletics.

5 gold and 5 silver medals at European Championships in sprint runs (Assen 2003 - Berlin 2018).


RÓŻA KOZAKOWSKA

I had my first contact with sport in primary and junior high school where I achieved many successes. Then health problems appeared and competitions for non-disabled ended. However, I didn’t give up and decided to obtain a group in the sport of disabled people.

Before competitions, I listen to music.

Dumbest thing I've ever done? - Whatever it was, it’s important not to repeat it

Life motto: “As long as you fight, you are the winner”

Sport discipline: athletics

Disability: cerebral palsy of the motor organs

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The most important achievements:

  • 4th place in the World Cup Dubai 2019 in the long jump (T38)
  • 1st place in the 2019 French Grand Prix


IWETA FARON

My first contact with sport was in 2008. I got into sport thanks to my mother, who got me interested me in cross-country skiing and it was she who guided me in the first years.
The pivotal event in my sports career was becoming a member of the national team in 2015 - since then I have participated in the Pyongyang Paralympic Games, and gradually I have started to achieve better results in World Cup competitions, reaching 4th place in the general classification in the 2019/2020 season .

Life motto: “Today do what others do not want, and tomorrow you will have what others desire”.

Sport discipline: nordic ski

Disability: congenital left hand malformation

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The most important achievements:

2017

  • 2 x 6th place biathlon (individual, medium) Finsterau World Championships,
  • 2 x Polish Championship 2017

2018

  • 5th, 6th and 7th place in the biathlon World Cup competition in Canmore, Canada (long, sprint and pursuit)
  • 8th place in the middle-distance biathlon at the Pyongyang Paralympic Games
  • · 3rd place in the middle-distance biathlon in the World Cup in Vuokatti (Finland)
  • 2 x Polish Championship 2018

2019

  • 4th place in the biathlon sprint in the World Cup in Östersund (Sweden)
  • 6th and 5th place at the Biathlon World Championships in Prince George, Canada
  • 10th overall biathlon World Cup 2018/19 season
  • 2 x Polish Championship 2019

2020

  • 2nd and 3rd place in biathlon sprint races in the World Cup in Altenberg (Germany)
  • 4th place in the sprint in the Biathlon World Cup in Finsterau (Germany)
  • 4th place overall in the 2019/20 Biathlon World Cup
  • 2x Polish Championship 2020

The greatest success: 6th and 5th place in the world championships, 4th place in the General Classification of the World Cup


DOROTA BUCŁAW

When I was 5, my dad started taking me to his basketball training, as he was still playing in the league at that time and that’s how I got the sports bug. When I had a shoulder injury - brachial plexus - in 1997, my uncle – a former marathon runner visited me and encouraged me to join a sports club for the disabled. I followed his advice and tried my hand
at swimming, athletics and table tennis and after six months I felt I enjoyed table tennis the most.

I am proud that I was able to return to active sport after the accident. My most important advantages are – prowess and bringing the set goals to the point until I can influence them. When I'm not training, I watch my old matches, read books about sports psychology or talk to my friends on the phone. However, playing and sleeping are my the most favourable activities.

Life motto: "We always have a choice, no matter how difficult it is to make it".

Sport discipline: table tenis

Disability: tetraplegia

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Greatest success: Gold medal at the 2019 European Championships, Individual Bronze Medal at the 2018 World Championships

The most important achievements:

2021 - 1st place in the world ranking in class 1

2019 - Gold Medal at the European Championship - Sweden

Qualification for the Tokyo Paralympic Games

2018 - Bronze Medal at the 2018 World Championships Slovenia Lasko

2017 - Silver Medal of the 2018 World Championships Slovenia Lasko

2016 - place 5th-8th of the Paralympic Games of Rio de Janeiro


JOANNA MENDAK

As a little girl, I did not like classes with a physiotherapist, therefore, another idea for strengthening and correcting posture defects were classes at the swimming pool. That’s how I got to individual swimming lessons in grade 0.

Later in the 3rd grade of primary school, when I mastered the skill of proper swimming in all styles, my aunt - Justyna Regucka (also a trainer) took me to the MUKS section "Olimpijczyk" in Suwałki. I met there a coach, Edward Dec, and since then our collaborative sports adventure continues to this day. In 2002 I found a place in the Polish national team at the World Cup in Argentina, where I won my first senior medals. This started my beautiful adventure with competitive sports. I am proud to be honest with myself and others.

When I'm not training, I work with patients as a physiotherapist or run classes at the swimming pool with young players ... or I sleep;)

I love when I have a calm head, a smile and good food. The best thing I've ever done in my life is… everything! I try not to regret anything (and I think I’m good at it).

Life motto: “Always move forward”

Sport discipline: swimming

Disability: visually impaired person - retinopathy of the premature baby, left eye myopia, right eye blindness

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The most important achievements:

2017

Silver medal in 50m Freestyle at the Mexico World Championships

2015

  • Bronze medal 50m freestyle at the World Championships in Glasgow (UK)
  • Bronze medal in 100m butterfly at the World Championships in Glasgow (UK)

2014

  • Gold medal in 200m medley at the European Championships in Eindhoven (the Netherlands)
  • Silver medal in 50m freestyle at the European Championships in Eindhoven (the Netherlands)
  • Silver medal in 100m freestyle at the European Championships in Eindhoven (the Netherlands)

2012

  • Gold medal 100m butterfly at the London Paralympics

2011

  • Gold medal in 100m butterfly style at the European Championships in Berlin
    • Silver medal in 200m medley at the European Championships in Berlin
    • Bronze medal in 50m freestyle at the European Championships in Berlin

2010

  • Gold medal in 100m butterfly style at the World Championships in Eindhoven (the Netherlands)
  • Silver medal in 200m medley at the World Championships in Eindhoven (the Netherlands)
  • Bronze medal 50m freestyle at the World Championships in Eindhoven (the Netherlands)

2009

  • Gold Medal and World Record (1: 05.10) in 100 m butterfly at the World Short Pool Championships in Rio de Janeiro
  • Silver medal in 200m medley at the World Short Pool Championships
    in Rio de Janeiro
  • Bronze medal 50m freestyle at the World Short Pool Championships in Rio de Janeiro
  • Bronze medal 50m freestyle at the European Championships in Reykjavik (Iceland)
  • Bronze medal in 100m freestyle at the European Championships in Reykjavik (Iceland)

2008

  • Gold medal 100m butterfly at the Beijing Paralympic Games
  • Silver medal in 200m medley at the Beijing Paralympics
  • Bronze medal 100m Freestyle at the Beijing Paralympics

2006

  • Gold medal 50m freestyle at the World Championships in Durban (South Africa)
  • Gold medal in 100m freestyle at the World Championships in Durban (South Africa)
  • Gold medal at 100m backstroke at the World Championships in Durban (South Africa)
  • Gold medal 100m butterfly at the World Championships in Durban (South Africa)
  • Gold medal in 100m breaststroke at the World Championships in Durban
    (South Africa)
  • Silver medal in 200m medley at the World Championships in Durban (South Africa)

2004

  • Gold medal and world record (1: 04.87) on 100 m butterfly at the Athens Paralympics
  • Bronze medal 100m freestyle at the Athens Paralympics

2002

  • Silver medal in 100m butterfly at the World Championships in Mar del Plata (Argentina)
  • Bronze medal 200 m medley at the World Championships in Mar del Plata (Argentina)


Make a donation to support our brave Paralympians!

Together we can do more!

The first stage of the 4 Deserts Run, which Corinne will participate in, will be held on October 24th.

By changing just one person's life, you can change the whole world!

TOGETHER WE WILL GIVE THEM WINGS!

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