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EDGARAS MATAKAS: The Same Dream
Kaunas
By Berta Tilmantaite
14 Sep 2016

Edgaras’ disability class is reserved for those whose visual impairment is the most severe, i.e., the blind. In competition with other athletes in this category, the 17 year old Lithuanian reached three A level standards. He competed in the 50, 100, and 400 meter freestyle races this fall in the Rio de Janeiro Paralympics. He is the only swimmer who represented the Lithuanian team in the 2016 Paralympics.

This video complements four other videos featuring Lithuanian Paralympians, alongside eight long-form articles with accompanying still photos. The full multi-media story can be found here at http://nanook.lt/en/will-to-win-hidden Password: nanookwilltowin.

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AUGUSTAS NAVICKAS: 5 minutes of torture
Lithuania
By Berta Tilmantaite
01 Sep 2016

Augustas Navickas is the first and only Lithuanian Paralympian rower. He grew up with the sport and had been training a lot before the spine trauma. His dedication to sport and the support of the people closest to him helped Augustas overcome the hardships that life threw at him. This year, at the end of May, he got a wild card to Rio de Janeiro Paralympics. This video complements four other videos featuring Lithuanian Paralympians, alongside eight long-form articles with accompanying still photos. The full multi-media story can be found here at http://nanook.lt/en/will-to-win-hidden Password: nanookwilltowin.

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LITHUANIAN GOALBALL TEAM: To hear the...
Lithuania
By Berta Tilmantaite
01 Sep 2016

The goalball is the sports game that is gaining popularity with the blind and partially sighted people. In 24 minutes, two teams of three players each, wearing special eyewear that blocks all sight, have to throw the ball into their opponents’ goal. In order to win, athletes have to use senses rarely used in other sports to such extent. There are bells inside the ball, so they have to hear it, and the court borders and team zones are marked by a raised strip, so they have to feel it by touch.

Although the game is largely unknown in Lithuania, it is this Paralympic event that Lithuania is most famous for. Year after year, Lithuanian goalball players have been winning various awards, getting into the top spots of international ratings, and their names have been cited by their rival coaches when ironing out strategies. In the international goalball tournament in July, where a lot of strong teams participated, Lithuania became champions. To be precise, champions and runners-up, for Lithuania was represented by two teams, “Lithuania 1” and “Lithuania 2”.

This video complements four other videos featuring Lithuanian Paralympians, alongside eight long-form articles with accompanying still photos. The full multi-media story can be found here at http://nanook.lt/en/will-to-win-hidden Password: nanookwilltowin.

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TRACK AND FIELD ATHLETES: The Everlas...
Lithuania
By Berta Tilmantaite
01 Sep 2016

Four different stories of four different people. Paralympians Ramunė Adomaitienė, Mindaugas Bilius, Jonas Spudis and Kęstutis Skučas have more in common than only Lithuanian names and participant accreditations for the Rio 2016 games.
All of these athletes had to overcome a big trauma and begin a new different life in a new different body. Now they all compete successfully in the international arena, have many medals and records. However, usually their competition does not end at the stadium.

Life, as well as individual sport, requires an individual battle. After winning against stereotypes, fears and their own bodies, Ramunė, Mindaugas, Jonas and Kęstutis could probably calm down and enjoy their triumph. However, they are figthers and they do know that victory can be saved in the one possible way – if your work today is harder than it was yesterday.

This video complements four other videos featuring Lithuanian Paralympians, alongside eight long-form articles with accompanying still photos. The full multi-media story can be found here at http://nanook.lt/en/will-to-win-hidden Password: nanookwilltowin.

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OSVALDAS BARIKIS: Fighting shadows
Lithuania
By Berta Tilmantaite
01 Sep 2016

In 2013, Osvaldas Bareikis became the champion in the World Junior Judo Championship for Visually Impaired and participated in the International Blind Sports Association (IBSA) World Games in Seoul; he is also the winner of the Lithuanian Judo Championship for Blind and Partially Sighted. And he is the only representative of Lithuania in judo in his first, the 2016 Paralympics. This video complements four other videos featuring Lithuanian Paralympians, alongside eight long-form articles with accompanying still photos. The full multi-media story can be found here at http://nanook.lt/en/will-to-win-hidden Password: nanookwilltowin.

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Paralympian Osvaldas Bareikis
Vilnius
By Berta Tilmantaite
27 Jul 2016

Paralympian Osvaldas Bareikis is preparing for the Paralympic Games Rio 2016.

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Paralympian Osvaldas Bareikis
Vilnius
By Berta Tilmantaite
27 Jul 2016

Paralympian Osvaldas Bareikis is preparing for the Paralympic Games Rio 2016.

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Paralympian Osvaldas Bareikis
Vilnius
By Berta Tilmantaite
27 Jul 2016

Paralympian Osvaldas Bareikis is preparing for the Paralympic Games Rio 2016.

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Paralympian Osvaldas Bareikis
Vilnius
By Berta Tilmantaite
27 Jul 2016

Paralympian Osvaldas Bareikis is preparing for the Paralympic Games in Rio 2016.

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Paralympian Osvaldas Bareikis
Vilnius
By Berta Tilmantaite
27 Jul 2016

Paralympian Osvaldas Bareikis is preparing for the Paralympic Games Rio 2016.

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Paralympian Osvaldas Bareikis
Vilnius
By Berta Tilmantaite
27 Jul 2016

Paralympian Osvaldas Bareikis is preparing for the Paralympic Games Rio 2016.

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Paralympian Osvaldas Bareikis
Vilnius
By Berta Tilmantaite
27 Jul 2016

Paralympian Osvaldas Bareikis is preparing for the Paralympic Games Rio 2016.

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Paralympian Osvaldas Bareikis
Vilnius
By Berta Tilmantaite
27 Jul 2016

Paralympian Osvaldas Bareikis is preparing for the Paralympic Games Rio 2016.

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Paralympian Osvaldas Bareikis
Vilnius
By Berta Tilmantaite
27 Jul 2016

Paralympian Osvaldas Bareikis is preparing for the Paralympic Games Rio 2016.

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Paralympian Osvaldas Bareikis
Vilnius
By Berta Tilmantaite
27 Jul 2016

Paralympian Osvaldas Bareikis is preparing for the Paralympic Games Rio 2016.

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Paralympian Osvaldas Bareikis
Vilnius
By Berta Tilmantaite
27 Jul 2016

Paralympian Osvaldas Bareikis is preparing for the Paralympic Games Rio 2016.

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Paralympian Osvaldas Bareikis
Vilnius
By Berta Tilmantaite
27 Jul 2016

Paralympian Osvaldas Bareikis is preparing for the Paralympic Games Rio 2016.

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Paralympian Osvaldas Bareikis
Vilnius
By Berta Tilmantaite
27 Jul 2016

Paralympian Osvaldas Bareikis is preparing for the Paralympic Games Rio 2016.

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Paralympian Osvaldas Bareikis
Vilnius
By Berta Tilmantaite
27 Jul 2016

Paralympian Osvaldas Bareikis is preparing for the Paralympic Games Rio 2016.

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Paralympian Osvaldas Bareikis
Vilnius
By Berta Tilmantaite
27 Jul 2016

Paralympian Osvaldas Bareikis is preparing for the Paralympic Games Rio 2016.

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Paralympian Osvaldas Bareikis
Vilnius
By Berta Tilmantaite
27 Jul 2016

Paralympian Osvaldas Bareikis is preparing for the Paralympic Games Rio 2016.

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Paralympian Osvaldas Bareikis
Vilnius
By Berta Tilmantaite
27 Jul 2016

Paralympian Osvaldas Bareikis is preparing for the Paralympic Games Rio 2016.

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Paralympian Osvaldas Bareikis
Vilnius
By Berta Tilmantaite
27 Jul 2016

Paralympian Osvaldas Bareikis is preparing for the Paralympic Games Rio 2016.

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Paralympian Osvaldas Bareikis
Vilnius
By Berta Tilmantaite
27 Jul 2016

Paralympian Osvaldas Bareikis is preparing for the Paralympic Games Rio 2016.

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Paralympian Osvaldas Bareikis
Vilnius
By Berta Tilmantaite
27 Jul 2016

Paralympian Osvaldas Bareikis is preparing for the Paralympic Games Rio 2016.

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The Gentle Fighter: Brazil's Blind Ju...
Rio de Janeiro
By Antonio Franco
21 Apr 2015

When witnessing the deafening thuds and desperate groans of Judo practitioners, gentleness, or "Ju" as the Japanese say, is the last thing that crosses your mind. This is less so when you come face to face with Willians Araujo da Silva, a 23-year-old, 250 lbs Judo black belt that promises to shine for Brazil in next year's Paralympics, which will be in his home country.

When you first meet him, it is not immediately obvious that he is blind. Mr. Silva’s composure and sense of direction are nearly superhuman. It is only when he sticks out his hand to greet you that you notice it is angled just a few degrees off and he does not have his sense of sight. Yet still, his sense of direction and space is so good that it crates a lingering doubt as to whether he really is blind or not. It is only when you see him kick a wall inadvertently or nearly fall in the gap between the subway car and the platform that you are truly convinced.

“You should come see my place”, he said brimming with pride after practice. His home is actually bland middle class apartment in a bad part of town that most people would find underwhelming. “The worst part about my old place was waking up in the morning and being ankle deep in water in your own bedroom. Oh the and rats too”. He recalled and seemingly trying to forget at the same time.

Mr. Silva was raised in Favela do Alemão, one of the most notorious slums in Rio de Janeiro. His new apartment, which he bought with his Judo winnings, is located not far from his old place, despite being worlds better. Although he’s happy with his own place, he bubbles with joy when boasting that he was also able to buy his parents a modest, but dignified house too.

“...Does it pay?” His father asked years ago when Mr. Silva began practicing the sport. “Not really”, he told his dad. “Well then get a real job, something that pays”, was his no nonsense fatherly response.

Despite the lack of support from his then skeptical family, he bravely continued though their doubt. After the 2011 Parapan games in Mexico, where he unexpectedly placed 2nd, a local Brazilian TV crew interviewed him. His father coincidentally happened to be watching. It was then Mr. Silva said, that his family realized his potential. What makes Mr. Silva stand out though, is his Ju, his gentleness. Someone in Mr. Silva’s shoes would be understandably frustrated. Frustrated at not being able to see the look of joy on his mothers face when she says he’s a gift from God. Frustrated from often stumbling into the various obstacles life throws at him. Frustrated from the regret of loosing his sight at age 11 from a fireworks accident. But he manages the opposite; to count his blessings not dwell on his curses. The irony is that if he hadn’t lost his vision, he likely would have wound up just another forgotten slum dweller creatively trying to make ends meet. Instead, his blindness has opened doors he would not have seen otherwise. The secret to Judo they say is to use your opponents force against him. Mr. Silva can teach us that perhaps there is some wisdom to found in our misfortune, some gentler way through life.

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Brazil's Blind Judo Olympian 08
Rio de Janeiro
By Antonio Franco
18 Apr 2015

Wilians Araujo da Silva speaking about his catholic faith after church service on Sunday morning.

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Brazil's Blind Judo Olympian 05
Rio de Janeiro
By Antonio Franco
14 Apr 2015

A group portrait after a late training session at his coaches gym. Wilians (upper right) trains against seeing opponents because most blind opponents aren't near his level.

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Brazil's Blind Judo Olympian 07
Rio de Janeiro
By Antonio Franco
14 Apr 2015

Wilians Araujo da Silva (center) crossing the street with the help of his friends after Judo practice.

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Brazil's Blind Judo Olympian 01
Rio de Janeiro
By Antonio Franco
24 Mar 2015

Wilians Araujo da Silva (center) lounges with friends before Judo practice. Since many are visually impaired, they like to interact through touch.

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Brazil's Blind Judo Olympian 06
Rio de Janeiro
By Antonio Franco
24 Mar 2015

Wilians Araujo da Silva looks in the direction of his wife, Caludinete da Costa Santos, 24, on the bus going home from practice.

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Brazil's Blind Judo Olympian 02
Rio de Janeiro
By Antonio Franco
23 Mar 2015

A light moment as Wilians Araujo da Silva (left) practices groundwork.

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Brazil's Blind Judo Olympian 04
Rio de Janeiro
By Antonio Franco
23 Mar 2015

Wilians Araujo da Silva (center right) practing a chokehold.

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Brazil's Blind Judo Olympian 09
Rio de Janeiro
By Antonio Franco
23 Mar 2015

The view from Wilans Araujo da Silva's house. In the background, Morro do Alemao, where he grew up.

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Brazil's Blind Judo Olympian 10
Rio de Janeiro
By Antonio Franco
23 Mar 2015

Willians Araujo da Silva getting a little help after getting off a bus.

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Brazil's Blind Judo Olympian 03
Rio de Janeiro
By Antonio Franco
10 Mar 2015

Wilians Araujo da Silva (center right) executes a harai goshi, one of his best moves during judo practice.