The Paralympic athlete Desirée Vila received this Friday the Gold Medal of the Royal Order of Sports Merit for having become a benchmark for improvement, resilience and visibility of disability in recent years, according to a statement from the Higher Sports Council (CSD). ).

This recognition, delivered by the president of the CSD, José Manuel Franco, occurs within the framework of the organization’s ‘Equals in Sport’ strategy and the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which is celebrated worldwide this Saturday, December 3.

“This time we are raising the figure of Desirée Vila, whom we consider a sports benchmark and an example for the whole of society,” Franco stressed during the award ceremony held in Madrid. “With this medal we are highlighting what she is doing to make disability visible,” he added.

Franco stressed that Vila “gave the sport a second chance after an injury that changed his life forever.” “Exchanging gymnastics for athletics; personifying the value of resilience; and showing all of us that the only incurable thing is the will to live,” he highlighted about the athlete.

For his part, Vila thanked the recognition and, in an emotional speech, confessed that “if I had never done gymnastics, perhaps I would never have had to go through everything” that has happened. “But sport has given me more than what it has taken from me. It has made me live the best moments of my life. This medal goes to all the people who see their lives cut short at some point along the way, to those who believe that their disability is a limitation when it comes to fulfilling their dreams: there is hope,” he said.

Born in Gondomar (Pontevedra) in 1998, Desirée began her sports career in 2012, the year in which she was proclaimed Galician acrobatic gymnastics champion. Three years later, due to complications from an injury sustained while she was training, she lost a leg. However, in 2017 she began to practice athletics and in 2018 she won the Spanish Champion in long jump T63.

Since then, she has become one of the world’s leading specialists in this modality, in which she has won, among others, the Bronze Medal at the IPC European Athletics Championships in Bydgoszcz (Poland) in 2021; and the diploma at the Tokyo Paralympic Games for a sixth position.

In addition to his sporting achievements, in 2018 he published the book ‘The only incurable thing is the desire to live’, in which he narrates his experiences and how he adapted to the new situation.