Life has presented Darko Đurić with many obstacles, but he has overcome them with a good dose of perseverance, stubbornness and humour. He got his first dentures at the age of two, struggled to stand up three years later and learned to swim at the age of ten. Unable to be cared for by his biological mother, he was placed in foster care, where he received warmth and support.
“I was very well received by everyone, including my brothers and sisters. My father and mother gave me everything I needed. I grew up on a farm. This helped me to learn to be independent. I was never wrapped in cotton wool. Even when I cried that it was too hard to walk (with dentures). When I wanted to give up, they didn’t let me. It was my parents’ perseverance and my stubbornness that combined to give me independence and success,” recalls Darko Đurić.
Stubbornness was one of the key traits in his sporting and life journey. It was thickly littered with obstacles. For example, he tried swimming in fifth grade, but was told he couldn’t swim straight with one arm. He found another sport, sitting volleyball. He even competed at the World Youth Championships. In 2007 he took up swimming again in earnest.
Today, years later, he holds eight medals from European and World Championships, has broken the world record four times and has competed twice at the Paralympic Games. “I went from being a village bumpkin to a cosmopolitan, I’ve seen a lot of the world. Medals and records were the rewards for all those who believed in me from a young age”, says the young man looking in the rear-view mirror, who likes to take life with a pinch of humour.
“I often say that being born without legs and an arm is not a bad thing. Only good things have happened in my life. My condition was a magnet for them.”