Riccardo Bagaini, fast on the running track and on books: “Luiss an example of inclusion and respect for diversity”

23 November 2021

Luiss Top Athlete Riccardo Bagaini was born in Sorengo on 12 October 2000 with a left limb reduction defect. Regardless, he never felt different. From an early age, he learned to live well with his disability, embracing the challenges of overcoming obstacles and charging straight for the finish line. Riccardo Bagaini is passionate about sports and already has developed a bulletin board full of medals gained on Paralympic athletics tracks across the world. Regarding his personal goals, he hopes to graduate soon and, given his determination, we are certain it will happen soon.

Riccardo, what is your approach to disability? How does it impact sports and your life?

As a child, it was something I barely even noticed. If you are born blond, the norm for you is to be blond. The same applies to me, I was born without an arm. I have always strived to do everything, despite the disability. The athletics track is 400 meters long for everyone and whoever gets there first, wins. This is my main driver.

Has sport helped you to better experience this condition of diversity?

For sure, and it also offered me different opportunities. It allowed me to compete against others and aim for the Paralympics – which I missed by 31 hundredths of a second this year. Without sports, I wouldn’t be studying at Luiss, and I wouldn’t be a Top Athlete of a prestigious university.

By the way, can you tell us about your Dual Career at Luiss?

I’m in the third year of the Bachelor’s in Economics. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, I couldn’t attend university as I would have liked. I hoped to experience it as an athlete and a student at the same time, because I believe sports and study commitments deserve the same level of dedication. I’m aware that in the future I won’t be able to achieve certain results. Therefore, I want to study a subject that I enjoy and I’m interested in to best prepare for future challenges.

How difficult is it to balance sport and study commitments? Does the University support you in this respect?

Yes, a lot. The option of being supported by a tutor is the greatest help that Luiss provides. The University support Top Athletes to improve performance, making the most of the little time available. We organize the workload and optimize results. The winner is the person who best plans and not the one who studies most.

From your perspective, is Luiss at the forefront in terms of inclusivity?

Undoubtedly, I can say that Luiss pays the right attention to the topic. I hope the topic continues to gain the attention it deserves from a sports point of view. I would like to see new students-athletes in the future.

What is the University’s approach towards diversity?

The University is welcoming, looks out for you, and adopts a zero prejudice or discrimination policy.

What does being part of the Luiss community mean to you?

It’s a great honor but it’s also a heavy burden. Being part of the community is a responsibility because you represent a renowned and important institution. You must give your all, but you also get a lot in return.

What do you think about the Luiss Graduates Association? Would you like to be part of it someday?

This peculiarity of this University is an advantage for us students. We all study in the same classrooms which is where we create routes for our future careers, network, learn about work experiences and leverage opportunities. I’m very happy ALL exists, and I hope to be part of it once I graduate.

What are your future goals?

I have two short-term goals. To graduate as soon as possible and then to qualify for the Paralympic Athletics World Championships, which will be held at the end of August. I’ll do my best to achieve both.

What is your advice for a young aspiring sportsperson with a disability?

Don’t be discouraged by your physical limitations which can represent a big problem when approaching the world of sports. Luckily, many barriers no longer exist. There are many opportunities – what to do is to go looking for them. The Italian Paralympic Committee is a large family that welcomes everyone.

CONNECT Editorial Board

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