Three disabled athletes carry the Romanian flag to the summit of Kilimanjaro on December 1st

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Two visually impaired athletes and one with physical disabilities, members of the National Paraclimbing Team, are advancing the 7Summits project and aim to conquer Mount Kilimanjaro (5895m) precisely on Romania’s National Day. Răzvan Nedu, Adriana Tofan, and Liviu Matei, accompanied by mountain guide Teofil Vlad, are the three high-performance athletes demonstrating once again that no disability can hinder living an independent life.

The chosen route for this expedition is Marangu. The actual journey begins at the Marangu National Park Gate, with the ascent starting from 1860 meters. It continues to Mandara Hut (2700m), followed by the ascent to Horombo Hut at 3700 meters. After a day of acclimatization, they proceed to Kibo Hut (4700 meters), and then to the summit of Kilimanjaro (5895 meters). The descent follows the same path.

Following excellent results at the World Championships, Romania’s National Paraclimbing Team aims to participate in the Paralympic Games as its next objective. Additionally, they strive to conquer the highest peaks on each continent, the 7Summits, a journey initiated in 2020 by Alexandru Benchea. For Razvan Nedu, this would be the third summit after Elbrus (5642 meters) and Aconcagua (6962 meters).

“It brings me joy that these wonderful athletes will achieve this feat on Romania’s National Day. I hope this draws attention to the challenges faced by people with disabilities in our country, and more kind-hearted individuals join us in making a real difference for people with disabilities. Every bit of help matters. I am also confident that their adventure will show all children and young people with disabilities that not only can they have an independent life, but they can also surpass their limits, achieving excellence. Climbing is a true therapy,” stated Claudiu Miu, founder of Climb Again.”

Răzvan Nedu has approximately 1% vision. He is a climbing coach for children with disabilities in the Climb Again therapy programs and the captain of the National Paraclimbing Team. He defines himself by the discipline characteristic of a high-performance athlete and the ambition to convert countless training hours into medals at national and international competitions, as well as conquering the highest mountain peaks on all 7 continents. In 2021, Răzvan earned the title of Vice World Champion at the Paraclimbing World Championship in Moscow, competing with his hand in a cast. Regarding his love for mountains and heights, Răzvan takes pride in ascending Aconcagua (6962 meters), Elbrus (5642m), Mont Blanc (4809m), and is determined to reach the Roof of Africa on December 1.

Adriana Tofan is completely visually impaired and competes in the B1 category. She discovered climbing through a friend who shared her experiences at the Climb Again center, sparking her curiosity to try this sport. It didn’t take long for her to realize that climbing fueled her desire for new challenges and adrenaline, beginning to love the training hours and dedicating herself to athletic performance. In 2022, at the Paraclimbing Master Imst in Austria, she won the silver medal, and this year, she was the only female athlete in the team during the Climbing World Championship in Switzerland, securing the 10th place.

Liviu Matei is a climber in the RP3 category and a climbing instructor alongside Răzvan at the Climb Again center. The hours spent between climbing walls and participating in competitions have greatly boosted his self-confidence. In 2022, with the High Altitude Team’s training, he discovered the joy of hiking and altitude. Following the successful ascent of the 4167 meters of Mount Toubkal in Morocco in November, he returned to Africa to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.

Teofil Vlad is a mountain guide, an indispensable part of the High Summit Team’s adventures. His interaction with Climb Again members began in 2015 when Teofil attempted to reach Everest, conducting a project to promote the NGO’s cause through his ascent. The endeavor culminated successfully in 2019 when he carried the Climb Again flag to the roof of the world. Since 2020, he has infused energy and motivation into the team to climb higher and higher on the world’s mountains. His relationship with the association is professional through his profession as a mountain guide. He resonates deeply with Climb Again’s mission and is involved in various awareness campaigns.

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