Krzysztof Macikiewicz is a former Sergeant of the Polish Army. In 2017 he suffered multiple injuries following a near-death accident. He broke his arm in two places, cracked his skull in two places and as a result of complications from his left leg getting crushed, the doctors had to amputate. He spent two years in hospital and underwent 14 surgeries before receiving his first prosthetic leg. Since his first prosthetic fitment, this soldier has not skipped one day of training: “Now I am slowly starting to regain my strength and return to sport. Since the accident, I want to prove to myself that I'm no worse than anyone because of my disability,” says Krzysztof.
Fun Facts: Poland
- Poland is a country with a very rich history and cultural heritage. Did you know that the Polish Constitution was the first one in Europe? And the oldest restaurant in Europe was also found in Poland in 1275?
- The Swietokrzyskie Mountains are the oldest in Europe, too. When it comes to age, as the unique Polish tradition, the President of Poland awards a medal for 50 years of marriage.
- In the northern part of Poland, there is incredible and monumental gothic Malbork Castle, which is the largest brick building in Europe (around 15 million bricks).
- Are you now even more amped for travel? Watch out because Polish is one of the most complicated languages in the world and it was even used by the Israel military to encode messages in the war against Egypt. You don’t believe it? Try to pronounce Góry Świętokrzystkie (The Swietokrzyskie Mountains).
Maria Combrink is a palaeontologist, geologist and a below-knee amputee who debuted at the Para-Athletics World Championships in 2017, representing South Africa in shotput and discus. A hiking accident left her with a crushed right foot, forcing her to later amputate. She then had to make a few adjustments to her life, but that did not stop her from taking part in sports. She’s not new to the sporting world having taken part in action cricket, action netball, basketball, and underwater hockey. She holds the African record in shot-put, throwing 9.61m in the women’s F44 category. She was also crowned the 2017 Disabled Sportswoman of the Year at the South African Gauteng Sports Awards.
Fun Facts: South Africa
- South Africa is home to the oldest meteor scar in the world – the Vredefort Dome in a town called Parys. The site is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- On 3 December 1967, a large medical, nursing, and technical team led by the South African surgeon Christiaan Barnard performed the world’s first human-to-human heart transplant, placing Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa, on the international map.
Zhang Yilong underwent upper-limb amputation surgery in 2015 following an electric shock accident. One year later he received Taekwondo training and successfully entered the Fujian Provincial Taekwondo Team. After two years of hard training, Zhang took part in the 10th China Paralympic Taekwondo competition in 2019 for the first time and managed to win the gold medal. Six months later he took third place at the World Paralympic Taekwondo European Open Championship in Italy. Zhang and his family live and work together on a farm where they raise geese and grow fruit trees. In addition to training, he will also help his family to work and live a full life at the same time.
Fun Facts: China
In China, people rely heavily on their smartphones, which can also perform almost all activities they need in their daily lives. Such as going out to eat, shopping, hospital reservations, inquiring directions, commuting to and from get off work, clocking in and so on. When we go out for work or entertainment, we can take no cash, but we must bring a mobile phone!
According to the statistics from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, as of 2018, the penetration rate of mobile phones in China was 112 units per 100 people, corresponding to an average of 1.12 mobile phones per person!
Noemi Alphonse, aka the Lioness on the Run, is a wheelchair racer and multiple record-holder from Mauritius. She was born with an impairment to her left leg, so she had to undergo amputation surgery below the knee at the age of nine months. She was introduced to Para sport by her friend Sherman Agathe, who was a neighbour of coach Jean-Marie Bhugeerathee. In 2015 and 2018 she was named Female Para Athlete of the Year and in 2019 she was named Sports Personality of the Year at the National Sports Awards in Mauritius. She was also chosen to be the flag bearer for Mauritius at the opening ceremony of the 2019 Indian Ocean Island Games in Mauritius. She recently graduated with a bachelor's degree in web and multimedia development from the University of Mauritius.
Fun Facts: Mauritius
This geological formation in south-west Mauritius is a popular tourist attraction. It consists of dunes comprising sand of seven distinct colours, earning it the somewhat predictable title “Seven Coloured Earths”. Alas, tourists are only able to admire them from a distance – so no building sandcastles.
Kim Wan-Hyuk, the one-legged B-boy, had his right leg amputated following a motorcycle accident at the age of 24. He says that dancing is a way to become a better person and a way to cope with the big crisis of life. He has won numerous tournaments with his high-quality skills and creative ‘b-boying’. "I just want to dance well. Being a good dancer would mean that I'd fully accept my body."
Fun Facts: South Korea
- Did you know that Korea's public transportation system is one of the best in the world? There are 22 subway lines in the Seoul metropolitan area, so you can go anywhere you want using public transportation. You can also transfer to the subway and bus for free, so you can travel anywhere at a low cost.
- Also, Korean public transportation is clean and convenient. If you travel to Korea, don't forget to enjoy Seoul's public transportation.
Nao Nao, whose original name was Wu Yuting, was amputated in a car accident when she was 15 years old. But she did not give up on herself, and came to Shanghai to start her own business after recovering. She shared her life with people from all over the country on Tiktok China @57304825, (China's largest social media platform) and conveyed the concept of unlimited life. Now Nao Nao is a professional model and a platform anchor. She has more than 3.7 million followers on Tiktok China (Tik Tok account: 57304825), and many of her videos have more than 2 million likes and 100,000 comments. Tiktok: Nao Nao(57304825)
Youtuber, Instagrammer, Motivational Speaker, Appointed Tokyo Olympic Torchbearer. In 2012, Chihiro was involved in a life-changing accident, when he was hit by a train on his way home from work. Miraculously he was left with his life, however, due to his injuries he had his lower right leg, his left leg at his thigh and right arm amputated. He decided to live his life positively and is now working full-time for an airline company while using social media to inspire other people. Through his activities, Chihiro strives to continue to give dreams and hopes to children with amputations and to inspire courage in others.
Fun Facts: Japan
- Japan sits along the “Pacific Ring of Fire”, so has many volcanoes and experiences many earthquakes. In 2011, an earthquake of magnitude 9.0 hit Japan and created a tsunami which resulted in much devastation. On the other hand, we are benefiting from volcanoes.
- There are many hot spring resorts in Japan, and many tourists come from all over the world. In addition to taking a hot spring, the Japanese way to enjoy hot springs is to enjoy the scenery and travel of hot spring inns and hot spring towns.
South Korea's first female fencer to compete at the Paralympics, a beautiful swordsman in the world of fencing for the disabled. At the age of 16, Kim Sun-mi had to have her left leg amputated after a car accident. At first, she started wheelchair fencing for rehabilitation. Now she is a member of the national team. Her ultimate goal is to win a Paralympic medal. Her dream is to be a role model who encourages other disabled women by showing them that if she can do it, they can do it, too.
Fun Facts: South Korea
- Did you know that South Korea is mostly surrounded by water and has over 2,000 kilometres of the coastal line along three seas?
- South Korea isn’t known for just shopping and the Korean Wave. It also has plenty of beautiful islands and islands waiting to be explored. If we are talking numbers, the country has a total of 3,358 officially affirmed islands.
Priscila Patricio is 32 years old, married and a Christian! She is a businesswoman who graduated in Advertising and had to amputate due to osteosarcoma in her right femur. It was in the middle of her cancer treatment that her life changed when she started to take control. She is a partner at Inovah Eventos, an events company that provides guidance and training on how to promote and market yourself, your company or your event. She is also a partner at the digital marketing company, @descomplicapri, where she provides mentorship for female entrepreneurs and help them to reach their professional goals and to achieve success. Also, after living with cancer, the above-knee amputee uses her personal Instagram profile to help and motivate thousands of people's personal development by sharing tips for living a lighter, active and happier life.
Fun Facts: Brazil
- In 2000, Brazilian Aron de Andrade invented an artificial heart which is connected to the natural heart and powered by an electric motor. This is the world’s cheapest artificial heart model, and the only one that doesn’t require the extraction of the organ. It weighs only 700g.
- Brazil covers 3 time zones.
- They drive on the right-hand side of the road in Brazil.
Paralympian, World Para Athletics Championship Long Jump Gold Medallist (Dubai, 2019), Asia World Record Holder: In 2006, Maya Nakanishi lost her lower right leg in a work accident but started doing athletics a year later. In 2009, she went to the USA and trained track & field for 4 years. Now she travels the world to compete at a high level with other elite level Para Athletes. While she travels the world for competitions, she loves to eat the local delicious food and beer. She lives with Sara, her lovely black Labrador retriever.
Fun Facts: Japan
- Sumo is recognized as the national sport of Japan, although the most popular spectator sport is baseball.
- Japan hosted the 1964 Summer Olympic games in Tokyo and will again in 2021. They also hosted the 1972 and 1998 Winter Olympic Games in Sapporo and Nagano, respectively.
Achmat “Sharkboy” Hassiem
In 2006, two brothers survived a shark attack at Cape Town's Muizenberg beach that changed the course of their lives. Achmat Hassiem lost his lower right leg while trying to save his younger brother, Taariq Hassiem in the water. Achmat, otherwise known as 'Shark Boy', went on to become a Paralympic swimmer, representing South Africa in Beijing, London and Rio. Achmat retired from his competitive swimming career after the Rio Paralympic Games in 2016, in order to focus solely on marine conservation work.
Fun Facts: South Africa
- South Africa is currently the only country in the world to have hosted the Soccer, Cricket and Rugby World Cup!
- Can you think of any other place in the world where two Nobel Peace Prize winners lived on the same street? Both Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu had houses on Vilakazi Street in Soweto.
Camille Rodrigues Ferreira Cruz is a Brazilian Paralympic swimmer, holder of several national records and member of the Brazilian Paralympic swimming team. Camille was silver in the 100m freestyle, 400m freestyle and 100m backstrokes, and bronze in the 50m freestyle at the 2011 Parapan-American Games in Guadalajara.
Fun Facts: Brazil
- Around 60% of the Amazon Rainforest is located in Brazil.
- Soccer is the most popular sport in Brazil with the national team consistently among the best in the world, winning the World Cup a record 5 times.