Sweden and Aruba together showing the invincible strength

ORANJESTAD – This year the relay has a special team a team formed by unity of Swedish and Aruban Paralympic athletes.

Shahrzad Kiavash (33) is an Iranian born, Swedish citizen and Albertino “Betto” Maduro is born in Aruba, Dutch Citizen. This team will be reinforced with Paula Boyer from Sweden. IBiSA is proud of the participation from around the world such as Chile, Paraguay, USA, Colombia, and France in the individual category. In the Corporate and Student Relay there are about 30 company teams and 10 school teams participating.

The two Paralympic athletes each with their own story, reason and dedication to be active in sport. A little bit about the two: Shahrzad Kiavash (33) is an Iranian born, Swedish lady. She holds a civil engineering degree from KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. She was living an ordinary life as a 28-year old, working in marketing when suddenly she was hit by a very uncommon and fatal blood-poisoning: Meningococcal septicaemia. The doctors estimated her chances to survive ob 5-10%.

After many days in the hospital, Shahrzad miraculously survived, but both of her lower legs had to be amputated. Following an extended period of rehabilitation, Shahrzad fell into a depression. Her personal trainer at that time came up with the idea of creating a purpose for Shahrzad, something she could work towards. That is how in October 2014, Shahrzad decided to participate in a triathlon competition – at that time without knowing how to swim, ride a bike, or run. Eleven months later, she crossed the finish line in the Vattenfall World Triathlon Stockholm after having swum 1500 meters, biked 40 km, and run 10 km. She was the first female double amputee to accomplish an Olympic-distance triathlon.

Shahrzad is competing in the Paralympics category PT2. After months of preparation Shahrzad successfully competed in the first ever Paralympic Triathlon, reaching 7 th place!

Nowadays, alongside her training, Shahrzad gives lectures to healthcare institutions, companies, sports organizations and schools with the main message that all of us have superpowers and that you can make the impossible possible. She is an inspirational speaker who encourages people to realize what they have and how you can make the most of it! Her goal is to motivate as many people as possible to realize their true potential and follow their dreams!

Albertino ‘Betto’ Maduro was born in Aruba on august 31, 1960. He was always a very active person. Betto was involved in a car accident when he was 30 years old. He had lost his eyesight on one eye. While he was adjusting to the life with just one eye this other eye also got damaged and the life changing was one that involved not only Betto but also his wife Jovita Maduro and the 3 sons and 1 daughter. Betto had still that drive to be active and to continue run and ride a bike. He slowly started back and his family was his guide during this journey.

He stayed very positive and influencing other people to start running and other sports to live a healthy lifestyle. Betto’s family plays a big role in his daily workout and training. He and his son who is a duathlon champion of the Pan American Games worked on a design of an extended iron bar on a bicycle.

Betto would be able hold on to that while running as during the training period that Betto adapted to running without sight he was running too fast and he run past the guide. With the first design Betto encountered problems with breathing. With that in mind a second design was made, which is the current one where Betto is able to switch arms while running.

By that being said during many local race events Betto has competed in his category with his ability, which is called by other people disability, and has won numerous times.

About 13 years ago Betto had the opportunity and the help of Cetty Baarh of FAVI (foundation for visually disabled) to be tested in the Netherlands to participate in the Paralympics. After testing the committee informed him that there was no component to compete in the 100 meter and 200 meter But Betto did not give up.

In 2015 with the help of various people such as Shardea Croes and the Paralympic world record holder 100m and 200m Marlou van Rhijn, he had the opportunity to join the Aruba Paralympic team in the Pan American Games held in Toronto, Canada where Betto placed for the 200 meter on the 9 th place and on the 100 meter on the 10 th place.

Nowadays Betto and his family are very active in local race events and training “The Malmok Runners” a group that is formed by 60 adults and about 40 children. He still has the dream and drive to ride the bicycle which hopefully one day will be possible in Aruba.

For now, these two athletes Shahrzad Kiavash and Albertino “Betto” Maduro are joined by Paula Boyer to complete the Relay team and just as their non-disabled counterparts, the athletic ability and tenacious commitment of each and every one of these athletes serves as an inspiration to their friends, their families, and to the other participants of the 32 nd Aruba International Half Marathon.

Although each faces some form of physical limitation, these athletes accept no limits on what they can achieve.

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