Joan Pahisa, a little big man and a champion. World Table Tennis Champion

2 Jul. 2019 | SOLTRA

"Everyone would have to live trying to outdo themselves"

Joan Pahisa, a little big man and a champion. World Table Tennis Champion

2 Jul. 2019 | SOLTRA

Joan Pahisa is 29 years old, 98 cm tall and weighs about 30 kg. Joan has congenital spondylo-epiphyseal dysplasia, a rare disorder that prevents her growth and causes her to have problems with cartilage and bones. However, his illness has not prevented him from participating in ping-pong and basketball tournaments at national and international level.
Joan is also a speaker, writer and screenwriter. On the occasion of being the protagonist of our #somosextraordinarios of June we conduct an interview to get to know him a little better.

Table tennis, basketball, swimming… what does sport bring you?

In addition to enjoying myself doing it a lot and doing it, the sport has given me the opportunity to make very good friends, both with clubmates as well as with people from many countries to which I have traveled. It has also allowed me to compete with myself, to improve on training, imagination and perseverance, qualities that I have been able to export to other aspects of my life. Finally, the other benefits are common with most people, among which the improvement of health, both physical and mental (although it is true that when practiced at a high level sometimes the physical part has also billed me).

You wanted to reach the highest level with table tennis, playing with people with and without disabilities, and you got it. Where does all that strength and determination come from?

I’m very picky about myself and I’m always thinking about ways to improve. People with disabilities are often little required or achievements that are actually everyday are magnified, so it’s important that you keep demanding it yourself. Likewise, I do not give much importance to the things achieved, I simply look to do everything i can and focus on being satisfied in how I do things more than in the results obtained.

You are also a person with a lot of academic training. In fact, your doctoral thesis led you to create Jocomunico, an Augmentative and Alternative Communication app for people with severe speech disorders. Where does that idea come from?

I wanted to marry my language and computer studies so far with the passion to be able to help other people and, specifically, other people with disabilities. From here came Jocomunico,an application that automatically expands the telegraph language, which is derived from the use of pictograms, natural language in Catalan and Spanish, transforming a set of pictograms such as , “I go to school tomorrow,” in natural phrases like “I’ll go to school tomorrow.”

And traveler. Last year, you spent five months in Japan and learned Japanese. What would you highlight from this experience?

In addition to learning a new language, I take with me the cultural experience, since in Japan the way of behaving and above all to communicate is very different. Personally I think it is very important to experience other cultures in the first person. If you go with an open mind, it helps you to increase empathy, to be more tolerant and to see things from different points of view, very important qualities to avoid and resolve conflicts at all levels.

Accounts on your blog that, in Japan, you finished your first novel. Are you planning on publishing it?

In fact, it’s my second novel and my third book. I wrote my first between the 16 and 19, a science fiction novel, and then a second book at 27 which are chronicles of a world sports world in which I participated. The novel I finished in Japan is a policeman and now I’m looking for a literary agent and then looking for editorial for publication. In addition, in Japan I also started preparing the script for a third novel set in the country of the rising sun.

After all you’ve achieved, what’s your next challenge?

More than a challenge is a desire: in the future, as part of my work, I want to continue to help more people with disabilities through technological or other projects.

If you had in front of you someone with a big dream like yours who had to overcome a difficulty as you did, what would you say to them?

To answer this question I would need an entire hour, but so in short I would say that, well, the difficulties are there and it is inevitable that there are, so it is not so much to focus on the difficulties, but on what you want to do. Similarly, it is also inevitable to make mistakes and here the important thing is not to let them frustrate you, but to analyze and learn from them. In any case, the main thing is not to stay with the desire and try to the maximum, regardless of the results you then get. As I said, it’s not so much the results, but the path you’re going as you pursue your dreams. The important thing is to be able to look back and be satisfied with yourself. Lots of encouragement!

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