Bosnia. Chances are you’ve heard of it, but aren’t sure where or why. For a quick and over-simplified explanation, Bosnia is a Balkan country bordering Croatia, Serbia, and Montenegro with a mere 12-mile coastline on the Adriatic Sea (east of Italy). Also known as Bosnia and Herzegovina, the 1984 Winter Olympics were held in the capital city Sarajevo. However, at that time Bosnia was a member of the Republic of Yugoslavia, so the 1984 Sarajevo Games were technically hosted by Yugoslavia, a former communist state.
OK! Now that your memory has been jogged, let’s get to the good stuff–inspirational swimming! Bosnia, while no longer a communist state, still often discriminates against those that are not “normal,” specifically handicapped children. Enter Ismail Zulfic, a six-year-old Bosnian boy that has no arms, but who loves the water and swimming!
Ismail has been taking swim lessons from the only group in Bosnia that offers swim lessons to disabled children, as it is common for Bosnia children with disabilities to be pushed into disregarded and disenfranchised corners of society. Ismail’s father, Ismet, hopes that one day his son will represent Bosnia in international competition. And judging by his enthusiasm and fearlessness, we just might see Ismail in the 2028 or 2032 Paralympic Games.
Watch below as Ismail takes a swim lesson with his coach and the others in his group, using noodles to help him float while he kicks his way down the pool. He is a master with his legs and feet, capable of taking goggles off with his toes and climbing out of the pool with only his legs. Ismail’s story–though only beginning–is truly amazing.
He's six years old, he has no arms and he's one heck of a swimmer.
Posted by AJ+ on Sunday, December 4, 2016