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From being told at the age of five that he may never walk again, Ognjen Stojanovic now hopes to become the first ever Serbian triathlete to compete at an Olympic Games.
Part of the ITU Development programme since 2007, Stojanovic is currently at university and training in Spain, but the story of how he got there reads like an inspirational novel.
Diagnosed with the rare Legg–Calvé–Perthes syndrome as a young child, Stojanovic’s right leg was more than 3cm shorter, with the femur forming to only half the size of the left. Faced with grim prospects and under poor conditions in then Yugoslavia, his parents made the difficult decision to operate.
Even following successful operation, doctors told Stojanovic that he would only ever be able to swim or ride a bike and take an office job in later life.
“Thankfully due to the amazing spirit, dedication and optimism of my mum I beat the disease, actually destroyed it!” said Stojanovic. “Immediately after the second operation and recovery period she enrolled me in the swimming club in town and drove me every single day for seven years 30 km to Novi Sad and back because we lived in a village.”
Read more: Triathlon.org