"Deafness is not any limitation to elite sport" says young Finn Antti Ropponen
2012 CEV U18 Beach Volleyball European Championship
Brno, Czech Republic, July 7, 2012. The practice of elite sports is normally associated to great physical skills and healthy lifestyles and this is actually what is being conveyed also by the well-known Olympic motto “citius, altius, fortius” (faster, higher, stronger). However, the valuable contribution of modern medicine and technology have increasingly been able to compensate for human inabilities, thereby helping people enjoy a normal daily life and even practice elite sport.
Deafness or hearing impairment quite evidently limit those who are affected by such inability, but technology may well support the legitimate quest for a normal life. Together with many other young players, Finland’s Antti Ropponen is enjoying this week his debut on international stage at the 2012 CEV U18 Beach Volleyball European Championship in Brno. Antti lost his hearing but 2 years ago received an electro-acoustic device whereby he basically returned to normal life. “I have to say that I do not feel like being disadvantaged in comparison to other players; 2 years ago I underwent a cochlear implant surgery and have been since hearing as any other human being, thereby having no problems at all to communicate with my teammates or partner on the court” he points out.
Antti is also a member of Finland’s indoor junior national team and completed only a few days ago a training camp whereby the young Finns finalized their preparations for the third and last qualification round of the European Champs that is coming up next week in Saint Jean d’Illac, France. Additionally, later this month he will be representing his home country in an ad-hoc World Championship specifically addressed to deaf players.
Antti Ropponen and partner Mika Mäntylä have already completed their campaign in Brno as they were assigned by the DOL to a very tough preliminary Pool where they lost all of their matches in straight sets. Still their results are not too disappointing as two of their rivals from the Pool, i.e. Russia’s Nikita Perebeinos/Vladislav Danilov and Czech heroes Donovan Dzavoronok/Martin Licek continued their splendid ride by making it to the matches whereby spots for the semis were to be attributed on Saturday. The Finns are traveling back home ready to train hard and hoping to significantly improve the quality of their play by the time they will be returning to the international scene. And apart from the results claimed on court, Antti still sends words of encouragement and motivation to all those who may feel impaired by their physical condition.