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27057-Diego Gastaldi photo

Diego Gastaldi

Athletics

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Spinal Cord Injuries
Origin of Impairment
Acquired
Classification
T53, F54

Further personal information

Family
Partner Ludovica Sciosci
Residence
Velletri, ITA
Occupation
Engineer
Languages
Italian
Higher education
Aerospace Engineering - Sapienza University of Rome: Italy

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
He took up Para athletics in 2014.
Why this sport?
He was involved in athletics before he sustained his impairment. He was initially reluctant to try Para athletics after his injury, but got involved in the sport after he could not find a suitable category in Para rowing. "At the beginning I kept myself away from the track. I tried other sports such as shooting, fencing, rowing, but I didn't hear that call I was looking for in any of these. At a certain point I decided to call the national coach Mario Poletti, a person I respect a lot, who helped me to approach this sport."
Club / Team
GSH Sempione 82: Italy
Training Regime
"I train in Velletri [Italy] on the track or on the road, or even on rollers that I have built. I have workouts in which I run for half an hour, train in the gym, or do climbs on the road."

General interest

Hobbies
Playing the electric guitar. (repubblica.it, 25 Feb 2019; obiettivo3.com, 01 Jan 2021)
Hero / Idol
Italian Formula One driver and Para cyclist Alex Zanardi. (comune.torino.it, 07 Jul 2020)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"I'm not another person now because I don't walk anymore. I am the same as I was before. There is no need to make a distinction between impaired and able-bodied. An impaired person is just a person who has more difficulties." (abilitychannel.tv, 22 Oct 2019)
Other sports
He has competed in Para rowing at national level in Italy. (comitatoparalimpico.it, 15 Apr 2014)
Famous relatives
His partner Ludovica Sciosci has competed in athletics [middle-distance running] at national level in Italy, including the 2017 U23 Italian Indoor Championships in Ancona, Italy. (Instagram profile, 11 Mar 2021; worldathletics.org, 07 May 2017)
Ambitions
To compete at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (repubblica.it, 19 Jan 2021)
Impairment
His impairment is the result of a car accident in 2011. (repubblica.it, 25 Feb 2019)
Other information
BOUNCING BACK
He credits the role of sport in his life since he sustained his impairment in 2011. "I was 27 years old. At the beginning it was not easy, I was afraid of people's judgement and of failure. It was normal, everyone feels that way when they start something new. [Para sport] is a beautiful world, but you don't do it just to get results. A medal is one victory but the advantages of sport are much more than that. My big victory is my independence. The centre of my life is me and what I want to be. Since I have started athletics, I have met a lot of people from around the world who have given me so much, not only as a sportsman but also as a man." (abilitychannel.tv, 22 Oct 2019)

MAKING HIS WHEELCHAIR
His background as an aeronautical engineer enabled him to build his own wheelchair. "I love the fact that I can take care of my wheelchair, combining my passion for sport and mechanics. I made the carbon cage. I did a 3D scan of my body and then I adapted the shell. All the mechanical things in my wheelchair came from me and without my studies, I could not have done this." (repubblica.it, 25 Feb 2019; comune.torino.it, 07 Jul 2020)