Winner welcomed to drink Bordeaux

Disability is no bar to study at one of Belarus’ best universities or to win a prestigious international contest

In modern times, disability is no bar to study at one of Belarus’ best universities or to win a prestigious international contest, such as the 9th International Abilympics, hosted recently in French Bordeaux



Belarusian team’s first participation resulted in victory. Alexander Antonov — a second year student at the Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radioelectronics’ Institute of Information Technologies — captured bronze in ‘The Administration and Management of Network Systems’. In turn, a final year student of the University — Yevgeny Solyanov — was among the top five in the same category. Their achievements, regardless of any disabilities, are outstanding and would be hard to be matched by anyone. To understand the value of their win, it’s important to note that the Abilympics gathered over 500 participants from 37 countries, aged 17-62; all demonstrated their talent in eight categories containing 104 professions. A wide range of trades was represented, including decorative-and-applied arts (such as willow weaving), information and computer technologies. The Belarusian team was among them.

The Deputy Dean for Educational Work and IT at the Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radioelectronics’ Department of Continuous and Distant Learning — Andrey Krivenko — explains, “The major challenge we faced while preparing for the contest is that we only learnt of it 10 weeks in advance. We had a very short period of time to prepare all the documents, references and participants. The students also need to attend classes, and have jobs. We were short of time.”


Yevgeny Solyanov amongst top five

Our young men were not held back by any physical disabilities. All participants — including those suffering from blindness, deafness or physical disorders experienced no problems while taking part in the Abilympics. They enjoyed comfortable conditions in terms of transportation and accommodation. The contest was organised in a warm atmosphere. Mr. Antonov commented, there was little time to communicate with the other participants as the schedule was so intense. The participants were busy even after the events, going on excursions and visiting Bordeaux’s castles and farms, such as Château Maucaillou, Château d’Agassac, Château Kirwan and the beautiful ancient Arcachon on the Atlantic Ocean (which is known for its famous spas and villas belonging to famous personalities such as Napoleon).

“We used every available minute to prepare,” explains Mr. Krivenkov. We continued even the night before the competition, wanting to do our best to demonstrate our capabilities.” Mr. Antonov adds, “I had no thoughts of victory. I set myself the challenge of solving as many tasks as possible.” Teachers and students speak of future participation in the Abilympics enthusiastically. Mr. Antonov says, “My hobby is my work and my job. This is what I truly love, particularly the two avenues of network administration and programming. I lack experience in the latter and have space for improvement.”

By Alexander Pimenov
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