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TAPIA Oney
Sport Para athletics
NPC Italy   
GenderMen
Age42
Place of BirthHavana, CUB
Height1.89 m
Weight 100 kg
Human Interest
Impairment Information
Type of Impairment
Vision impairment
Origin of Impairment
Acquired
Classification
T11, F11
Further Personal Information
Family
Daughters Margherita, Maria and Michelle
Residence
Sotto il Monte Giovanni XXIII, ITA
Occupation
Athlete
Languages
Italian, Spanish
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport?
He began playing baseball and rugby at a young age in Cuba. He took up Para athletics in 2013 in Bergamo, Italy.
Why this sport?
Sport helped him to find a balance in everyday life following the loss of his vision. He originally played torball and goalball, but moved on to athletics because it was the sport he was most passionate about.
Club / Team
Omero Runners Bergamo [ITA] / Fiamme Azzurre [ITA]:
Name of coach
Guido Sgherzi [personal], ITA, from 2014
Senior International Debut
Year
2015
Competing for
Italy
Tournament
World Championships
Location
Doha, QAT
General Interest
Nicknames
Guerriero [Warrior]. (grosseto2016.it, 07 Mar 2016)
Hobbies
Dancing, hiking, playing the piano. (gazzetta.it, 25 Feb 2017)
Memorable sporting achievement
Setting national records of 12.47m in the discus and 40.26m in the shot put. (NPC, 15 Oct 2015)
Most influential person in career
Coach Guido Sgherzi. (bergamonews.it, 23 Sep 2016)
Hero / Idol
His daughters. (NPC, 15 Oct 2015)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"In life, everything can be done." (iodonna.it, 17 Mar 2018)
Other sports
He played goalball before taking up Para athletics. (myinfo.rio2016.com, 07 Sep 2016)
Ambitions
To win gold at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (bergamonews.it, 23 Sep 2016)
Impairment
His vision impairment is the result of a work accident in 2011. He was working as an arborist, when a falling branch hit him in the face and eyes. (bergamo.corriere.it, 31 May 2014)
Other information
FROM CUBA TO ITALY
Born in Havana, he was a professional baseball player in Cuba prior to losing his sight. He first went to Italy in 2002 to play as a pitcher, and in 2003 he was granted Italian citizenship. Following his accident in 2011 he began playing goalball and torball for Omero Bergamo, winning an Italian championship and receiving a call-up to the Italian national team. In October 2013 he took up discus throw "I tried it just by chance and immediately broke the Italian record." (Comitato Italiano Paralimpico YouTube channel, 17 Mar 2016; abilitychannel.it, 01 Mar 2016; bergamo.corriere.it, 31 May 2014; bergamo.netweek.it, 27 Sep 2013)

BOOK
In 2018 he published his autobiography named 'Piu forte del buio' [Stronger than darkness]. (iodonna.it, 17 Mar 2018)

OTHER ACTIVITIES
In 2017 he won the Italian version of the reality television show 'Dancing with the Stars'. "I did not know it was so hard. The difficulty was more mental than physical. Learning all these routines [and] I needed to continue with my training. But it helped me because I had a goal. I was there to reach the end. The important thing is not to participate but to win." (iodonna.it, 17 Mar 2018; Tv2000it YouTube channel, 17 Dec 2017)

Competition Highlights (historical)
Paralympic Games
Rank Year Event Result
9 2016 Shot Put F12 12.72
2 2016 Discus Throw F11 40.89
World Championships
Rank Year Event Result
13 2015 Shot Put F12 12.41
14 2015 Discus Throw F11 8.73
European Championships
Rank Year Event Result
5 2016 Shot Put F12 13.31
1 2016 Discus Throw F11 42.56
1 2018 Discus Throw F11 46.07
1 2018 Shot Put F11 12.48