The Paralympic sports – removing limitations and surpassing obstacles

April 4th, 2015 is glad to inform that Croatian Post has released a special commemorative stamp to marks the 50 years of Croatian Paralympic movement. The item was issued and put into circulation on the 23d of March.

Half a century of Croatian Paralympic sports is at the same time half a century of promoting sports spirit, equal opportunities and possibilities for people with disabilities. Under the moto "Spirit in Motion", the Paralympic sports on global level means the removal of limitations and surpassing of obstacles, even in situations when it appears impossible.

This is especially evident in the last twenty years, during which the sports practiced by people with various disabilities has indeed flourished. In Croatia the foundations of Paralympic sports and the Croatian Paralympic Committee as the roof organisation, have been set on 8 September 1964 when the Croatian Sport and Recreation League of Disabled was founded. During last fifty years the circumstances have changed, but the goal remained always the same – organisation, promotion and popularisation of sports for persons with disabilities.

And, that the persistence pays off, prove best the results. Along with many international rewards and medals, 15 Croatian sportsmen and -women won so far in total 35 Paralympic medals. First such medal, already under the flag of the ex-state won Milka Milinković at the Games in Heidelberg, Germany in 1972. Twenty years later at the Games in Barcelona she was again a winner, this time of the first Paralympic medal for independent Croatia. With her nine participations and eight medals won, Milinković is today the most successful Croatian sportswoman with disability and next to her is with the same number of medals won in swimming, Roko Mikelin Opara.

First Paralympic gold for Croatia won Darko Kralj in shot put in Peking in 2008, and with two more gold medals at the same games Antonija Balek joined him. These were the best organised Games in the history at which Croatia was represented by 25 participants in six sports. Besides Darko and Antonija, the 18 years old Branimir Budetić took bronze medal in javelin throw. According to the total number of medals won, Croatian sportsmen and -women were most successful at Paralympic Games in London in 2012.

The society is more and more recognizing the excellence of Paralympic sports and this postage stamp issue is also an important support for the demonstrated courage, determination and equality.