Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Though She Lost Her Leg In An Earthquake, This Teen Has Her Sights On Paralympic Skiing

Time for a little bit of inspiration for the next time you stub your toe and think it hurts too much to bother going to the gym today. 

Meet Insha Afsar, a 16-year-old Pakistani girl who isn't just defying expectations by learning to ski while missing a leg, but is aiming for the chance to compete at the highest level: the Paralympics.

In 2005, a 7.6 magnitude earthquake hit Northern Pakistan and Insha was left without a leg. A photo of her appeared in Timemagazine's coverage of the aftermath.

That photo changed Insha's life. It brought her story to the attention of the Shriners Hospital in Springfield, Massachusetts, who flew her to the U.S. to be fitted with a prosthetic. 

She was hosted by Rebecca Lambert and Ted Bent, who later offered her the chance to remain in the U.S. and go to school. It was her new school friends who introduced her to skiing. 

Insha has continued to live with Ted and Rebecca for the last five years, attending a private boarding school with a great ski team. 

Her dream is to compete in the winter Paralympics, more specifically the 2018 games in South Korea. She practices with the National Sports Center for the Disabled.

Unfortunately, Pakistan doesn't compete in those games, and skiing isn't a well-known sport there. 

The most likely road to competition is for Insha to apply for dual Pakistan/U.S. citizenship, which would allow her to join Team U.S.A. and give her access to their facilities and programs. 

Still, she holds her Pakistani roots tightly, telling ABC News, "It's not common for women to be athletes [in Pakistan]. Now I’m doing a sport that I love. That might inspire people despite everything that's holding them back."


Author: verified_user