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30622-Ljiljana Ljubisic photo

Ljiljana Ljubisic

Athletics
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Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Vision impairment
Origin of Impairment
Acquired
Classification
T11, F11
Guide
Liudys Masso Beliser, CUB

Further personal information

Family
Partner Robert Andersen
Residence
Vancouver, BC, CAN
Occupation
Public Speaker
Languages
Croatian, English, French, Serbian, Spanish
Higher education
University of British Columbia: Vancouver, BC, CAN

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She began training for Para athletics following the 1984 Paralympic Games, where she competed in goalball.
Why this sport?
"I come from a family of athletes, and had I not been blind, I would have been in the Olympics. It's just a natural extension of who I was meant to be. But as I grew up I was never encouraged to participate in gym class in school, I was always sent to the library. But a teacher in the 11th grade saw the potential in me and encouraged me to start practising volleyball and other sports. That sparked my dream of being a professional athlete."
Club / Team
BC Blind Sports: Vancouver, BC, CAN
Name of coach
Liudys Masso Beliser [personal], CUB

International debut

Year
1984
Competing for
Canada

General interest

Nicknames
Lilo (Athlete, 11 Nov 2019)
Hobbies
Travel, weightlifting, reading. (Athlete, 11 Nov 2019)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning gold in the B1 discus throw at the 1992 Paralympic Games in Barcelona, and in the F11 discus throw at the 1994 World Championships in Berlin, Germany. (Athlete, 11 Nov 2019)
Most influential person in career
Her father. (Athlete, 11 Nov 2019)
Hero / Idol
Soviet gymnast Olga Korbut. (Athlete, 11 Nov 2019)
Injuries
She tore the meniscus in her left knee in February 2019. She underwent surgery in March and returned to training five months later. The injury disrupted her training ahead of the 2019 Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru. (athletics.ca, 24 Aug 2019; revistamascuba.com, 17 May 2019)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Always embrace and live a no-limits approach to life." (Athlete, 11 Nov 2019)
Awards and honours
She was inducted into the Canadian Paralympic Hall of Fame in 2011. (paralympic.ca, 2017)

She received the 2007 Juan Antonio Samaranch IOC President's Para Athlete Award from the United States Sports Academy. (liloinspires.com, 22 Oct 2012)

She was named one of the 20 most influential women in sport in 2003, 2004 and 2005 by the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women in Sport and Physical Activity [CAAWS]. (paralympic.ca, 2017)

She was presented with the AthleteCAN Leadership Award in 2005. (paralympic.ca, 2017)

She received the 2004 Women of Distinction Award from CAAWS. (paralympic.ca, 2017)

She was named the 1992 Athlete of the Year in British Columbia, Canada. (paralympic.ca, 2017)
Other sports
She has represented Canada in goalball, and was a member of the Canadian women's team that won silver at the 1984 Paralympic Games. (paralympic.ca, 01 Jan 2017)
Ambitions
To compete at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (revistamascuba.com, 17 May 2019)
Impairment
She began losing her vision at age one due to the misdiagnosis of an illness. She was declared completely blind in 1990. "In my infancy a doctor misdiagnosed chicken pox as the flu and prescribed sulfa antibiotics. As a result I began suffering the effects of an allergic reaction [Steven Johnson syndrome] to the medication that caused hair growth underneath my eyelids. The hair scratched my corneas every time I blinked. Between 1988 and 1990 I underwent five corneal transplants and nine operations. I lost and gained my sight five times during that period. Still, due to body rejections of the cornea, infections, and perforations of cornea tissues, I gradually became blind." (Athlete, 11 Nov 2019; liloinspires.com, 22 Oct 2012; circle.adventist.org, 2008)
Other information
RETIREMENT AND RETURN
She retired from Para athletics in 2004, but returned to international competition following more than 10 years away from the sport. (Athlete, 11 Nov 2019; athletics.ca, 24 Aug 2019)

OTHER ACTIVITIES
She served as chairperson of the International Paralympic Committee [IPC] Athletes' Council between 2002 and 2009. (liloinspires.com, 22 Oct 2012)