I had an accident at the age of 25.
It resulted in a fractured spine with injury to L1.
I started to use a wheelchair.
I spent three years in a rehabilitation hospital to become as independent as possible in my daily tasks and to live as independently as possible.
When I left the hospital and returned home
I decided to take a professional technical course in Secretarial and Graphic Design at Cercigui in Guimarães.
Cercigui had a Sports Club where they did sports and competition activities.
I was invited to be a swimming athlete in the club and I rose to the category of high competition athlete.
I competed for 5 years.
In 2004 in Vila Franca de Xira in the Portuguese Open Championships, I was the second best Portuguese athlete and won a gold medal in the 50m freestyle.
I am passionate about water, swimming, extreme sports and sea sports.
After I withdrew from swimming, I started practicing extreme sports, plane jumping, slide, adapted surfing among other adventures.
I like everything that takes me out of my comfort zone and keeps me active.
Currently I do Adapted Sports in the gym.
Specific training adapted to my physical condition with a Personal Trainer.
All the training is thought in detail to improve my performance and my physical condition.
Endurance training, fat burning, muscle strengthening and keeping my body as healthy as possible and avoiding problems associated with my physical condition, avoiding sedentarism and the appearance of diseases, such as osteoporosis and others derived from the fact of sitting for a long time and not walking.
Fortunately I am a healthy and resistant person, which enables me to give my best in each training session and surpass myself.
After the accident, my ambition was to have a normal life and as I am a social and active person, it makes sense to train in a place that anyone can go, because that is true inclusion.
Social inclusion means being included in society and doing all the activities in a natural and enjoyable way like anyone else.
For me it is also important and interesting to be challenging and testing my limits as an athlete and a woman with reduced mobility because it encourages society to include more and more, to end stereotypes and taboos related to disability and to normalise the way people see me.
If there is accessibility and adaptations, everything is possible and there are no limits for the disabled person.
We do everything that other non-disabled people do, but in a different physical condition.
I love life and I always want to do more.
That’s how I see life.
Mentor of the SARA COUTINHO PROJECT