- Tbilisi, Georgia. 2022 -
I first met Lia in 2019. She had just represented Georgia in the 2019 UAE Special Olympics in Swimming, we took the portraits at the bottom of this page (click to see her International Paralympic Committee profile). Now in 2022, she represents Georgia in Taekwondo in the under 49kg category hence the dramatic weight loss. We reconnected recently and Lia tells me her singular obsession is to win gold at the Special Olympics 2023 in Berlin for her country. She believes it's going to be her last paralympics, so she's determined to give it her everything to rise above the #14 ranking in the World Taekwondo Para ranks (download rankings here).
I propose telling her inspiring story in a video documentary which promises to be a visually compelling piece. Lia is inspiring and charismatic, as is the vivacious capital of Georgia, Tbilisi, not to mention the exaggerated movements of the Taekwokdo martial art. Lia is a naturally soundbite-friendly interviewee, and we can shoot a-day-in-the-life-of Lia, showing her morning routine, journey to training, her rigorous and punishing training, her charitable endeavors, her family and personal life, in the process show how she copes daily with being one-armed, and how she inspires a new generation of abled and disabled athletes in her homeland.
When I asked Lia if she could return to the day she lost her arm and save it, would she? Her reply was a surprising, no. In poverty stricken Georgia, opportunities to live the life she has now, to be able to travel and make a decent living are rare. Losing her arm led Lia to competing in international competitions, and has allowed her the opportunity to travel representing her country and to make a living as a coach. The loss of her arm is sacrifice she would gladly make again just to access the opportunities that have come her way and have saved her from a very ordinary and difficult life as a Georgian disabled woman in what is still a parochial society.
- Tbilisi, Georgia. 2019 -