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Afghanistan, the Paralympic athlete Monica Contrafatto: “I dream of going back”

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“I quit my job halfway through. At the cost of losing the other leg as well, I want to go back there, to Afghanistan. To help build peace ”. To speak is Monica Contrafatto, as reconstructed by Claudio Arrigoni in his “Rebels, characters and stories of the Paralympics”, released today with Good news of the ‘Corriere della Sera’. Arrigoni tells the story of the Paralympic athlete, already bronze medal in Rio, starting from his decision to enlist in the Bersaglieri “I saw them and I fell in love. Ah, the fez… “. “Monica’s choice – says Arrigoni – starts from those days in Gela, passes through Gulistan, province of Farah, western Afghanistan, reaches Brazil and Rio, looking to Tokyo”. Contrafatto becomes a senior corporal of the army, First Bersaglieri Regiment. In March 2012, just 31 years old, the second mission in Afghanistan. “My biggest passion. We are there to help, the last thing we use is weapons. The inhabitants saved our lives in certain situations “, he says. But at the Italian base there was an attack, rain bombs.” After the first one I instinctively went to the vehicles, not to the anti-mortar center. ” The splinters hit a leg, the femoral artery, the intestine, a hand. “Thinking about it, not much damage.” The right leg will be amputated, the femoral artery changed with the saphenous vein, the intestine removed for half a meter, a leg bone will be used for the hand. In the middle also a pulmonary embolism. “It could have been worse.” True: Sergeant Michele Silvestri, near her at the Ice outpost, died from those mortar rounds, leaving his wife and an eight-year-old son. “I was hit by the shock wave of the explosion, everything turned gray, I didn’t feel bad, no pain, but I saw the blood. A lot.” It was colleague Salvatore De Luca who avoided her death , taking her far away. “Soon after came another shot and it would have killed me.” One evening, in front of the tv, a shock: “The matches of the London Paralympics were broadcast. I didn’t know what they were. I stopped to look. And in those days I did nothing else: there were fantastic athletes ”. He saw Martina Caironi run the 100 meters. Amputated like her in one leg just above the knee: “Since then my point of reference. I said to myself: I have to go too.” She became her partner in the national team. She was on the podium with her in Rio, Martina with gold at neck, she the bronze. A movie story. And now in Tokyo on the women’s 100 meters T63 (leg amputated) could be an all-Italian podium, with Ambra Sabatini with them.

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