SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina — Six-year-old Bosnian boy Ismail Zulfic was born without arms and with a deformed foot into a society that often neglects and marginalizes children with disabilities.
But his parents and an inspirational sports instructor have helped him overcome his physical limitations – and a fear of water – to win a gold medal at a regional competition for disabled swimmers and the hearts of many people in the Balkans.
Amel Kapo, a sports graduate, launched the free swimming classes for children with disabilities at a Sarajevo pool without any state support.
“My goal was to bring children with disabilities into the open,” Kapo said. “Yes, their bodies might be different but if you give them an opportunity to prove themselves they know how to take it and use it.”
The club, called Spid, which Kapo founded, remains the only swimming club for children with disabilities in Bosnia.
Zulfic’s parents can hardly afford …