Laura Aurelia Dinda, a student from the Faculty of Psychology, UGM succeeded in earning a gold medal in the swimming sports category at the ASEAN Para Games 2017. Laura took the gold medal by achieving the shortest time in the 100 metres freestyle swimming S6 class, which was 1 minute and 30.27 seconds. This achievement instantly made her the first athlete to earn a gold medal at the ASEAN disabled athletes sports festival which was held in September 2017.
In addition, Laura also succeeded in breaking the ASEAN Para Games record in the same category. Previously, the shortest time was achieved by a swimmer from Thailand, Thongbai Chaiswas, with a time of 1 minute and 30.77 seconds in 2011.
Laura said she was afraid and anxious before starting the competition. She was afraid of not being capable of finishing the competition.
“Before sliding into the arena, I was afraid and I even did not want to swim. Fortunately, those feelings vanished when I jumped from the starting board,” said Laura who was born in Pekanbaru on September 22, 1999.
Laura has loved swimming since she was in third grade in elementary school. At first, she joined a swimming club as a form of therapy for her asthma.
“At first, swimming was a therapy for my asthma, but now it has become my hobby,” said Laura.
Her passion for swimming can be seen in her face and spirit. “Two years ago, I broke my leg during the second Regional Sports Week (Indonesian acronym: POPDA 2), but I kept swimming until now despite my leg,” she added.
Her physical disability does not hinder Laura in her swimming and making new achievements. Every day she practices swimming for at least two hours.
“Success can be achieved even with a limitation,” she added.
Many achievements have also been earned by Laura, including at the National Paralympic Week XV. In that event, she succeeded in earning a gold medal for the 50-meter backstroke swimming category, and a gold medal in the 400-meter freestyle swim for the S9 class category.
Laura is one of dozens of disabled students at UGM. She gives inspiration that physical disability is not a hurdle to achieving anything.