Imagen
31380-Diego Parrondo Ojanguren photo

Diego Parrondo Ojanguren

Athletics

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Spinal Cord Injuries
Origin of Impairment
Acquired
Classification
T51

Further personal information

Residence
Breda, NED
Occupation
Student
Languages
English, Spanish
Higher education
Automotive Engineering - Eindhoven University of Technology: Netherlands

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
He was exposed to Para sports during his rehabilitation at the National Hospital of Paraplegics in Toledo, Spain. He took up wheelchair racing after completing his rehabilitation.
Why this sport?
"When I was little I played basketball in my school team. I also did tennis for five or seven years, and skiing in winter. After the accident I spent a year in a rehabilitation, where I had my first contact with Para sports. I started playing table tennis, tennis and tried my first handbike, even participating in a 10km race in Madrid while still admitted to the hospital. After I left the hospital, I discovered Para athletics. I saw sports as the ideal way to rehabilitate. Obviously it was good for me physically, but it also made me realise that more was possible than I had thought."
Name of coach
Isabel Hurtado [personal]
Training Regime
"I train six to seven days a week, in total 15 to 20 hours. My brother is my coach here in Oosterhout and he uses the training schedule devised by my coach in Spain."

General interest

Hobbies
Supporting Spanish football club Sporting Gijon. "My father started singing to me as soon as I was born. No traditional, soothing lullabies for me, just one song: the anthem of Real Sporting de Gijon. Even though I'm a son of the city of Oviedo, he brainwashed me into becoming a Gijon fan." (cursor.tue.nl, 28 Nov 2018)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"When you play sport, you stop thinking in terms of limitations and start thinking in terms of possibilities. That offers comfort and hope." (cursor.tue.nl, 28 Nov 2018)
Ambitions
To compete at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (Facebook page, 11 Nov 2019)
Impairment
In 2013 he had a diving accident and sustained a fractured fifth cervical vertebra, which left him paralysed from his chest down to his toes. "The day I got my driver's licence was the same day that I broke a spinal vertebrae when I dived awkwardly into the swimming pool. I hadn't actually ever heard of paraplegia, nor of what it entails. Only after six months did I realise, 'I might have this for the rest of my life'. Nothing working, except for one chest muscle, my shoulders, upper arms and parts of both forearms. On one hand I have only my thumb, but that is enough for WhatsApp and PlayStation." (cursor.tue.nl, 28 Nov 2018; persiguetussuneos.com, 01 Jan 2015)
Other information
NETHERLANDS MOVE
He moved to the Netherlands in 2014. "I live in the Netherlands because my father's office moved him from Asturias [in Spain]. I was waiting to finish high school and taking advantage of the fact that I was 18 to get my driving licence, and two days before leaving for the Netherlands was when I had the accident. I delayed my departure one year while I recovered in hospital." (elnortedecastilla.es, 23 Dec 2015)

OTHER STUDIES
He has studied a master's degree in operational management and logistics at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. (cursor.tue.nl, 19 Jun 2019; cursor.tue.nl, 28 Nov 2018)

AUTOMOTIVE PASSION
He shares a love of cars with his father and studied automotive engineering, which has influenced his wheelchair training. "When I was 15, together with my father we bought a 1982 Volkswagen Beetle and restored it. A super cool process. My infatuation with vintage cars developed into pure love. I love cars with character and strength. A car should roar, radiate power and, above all, have style. That's why I adore American classics from the 1960s and 1970s, especially the Ford Mustangs. One day I hope to drive in one of my own. Naturally, as an automotive student I like to tinker with my wheelchair's aerodynamics and I'm still working out which setup is most efficient, how I can best place my hands. We practise the start visually, with audio and with touch, all ways to reduce my reaction time." (cursor.tue.nl, 28 Nov 2018)