FIELD: Future ParaChampions

Throwback to Kunming in China february 2017 when I visited South of the Clouds Swimming Club. It is the only school in China where they train future swimming Paralympians. The students live and train together for the whole year, and only see their families in the holidays.

– Being handicapped in China is highly stigmatized. I’ve heard about parents that hide their
children in lofts because they are ashamed of their condition. Here they get the chance to
show that they are just as capable to do great things as you and me, says Bryan, former
English teacher at South of the Clouds Swimming Club.

Splash! He gasps for air before he let the water consume him again. With great power he pushes his feet against the edge of the pool. Seven seconds later, he is on the other side. Zhang Yi Cheng (18) has attended South of the Clouds Swimming Club for five years. 

 

The air is moist and heavy, and the smell of chlorine is overwhelming. The waves he makes pushes against his skin while he struggles to swim on his back. He breathes slowly, trying to take control. Li Ting (16) has attended South of the Clouds Swimming Club for five years.

 

She has just finished one hour of intense training. Like a fish out of water her body shivers on the cold tiles. She closes her eyes and takes a deep breath, opens them and smiles calmly. Zou Jing (12) has attended South of the Clouds Swimming Club for one year.