SPEAKER OF THE WEEK: Darko Durić

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Darko has been disabled all his life. He was born without legs and his left arm.

Darko has been overcoming challenges since childhood, born without legs and with only one arm. His journey took a significant turn at the age of ten when he learned to swim during a nature school excursion in Pacug. Although swimming didn’t immediately become his passion, he initially found solace in sitting volleyball under the guidance of the Slovenian Sports Association.

It wasn’t until 2007 that Darko began to seriously pursue swimming. Training diligently at the Radovljica Swimming Club and juggling studies in Ljubljana, he gradually honed his skills. His determination bore fruit when he competed in the European Championships for the Disabled in 2009, followed by the World Championships in Rio de Janeiro. Despite finishing fifth in several events, his resilience remained unshaken.

In 2010, Dr. Boro Štrumbelj, a prominent advocate for disabled sports, recognized Darko’s potential and offered guidance. This mentorship proved invaluable as Darko clinched a silver medal in the 50m butterfly at the European Championships in Berlin. His stellar performance earned him a spot at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, where he showcased his talent on the global stage.

Darko’s journey reached new heights at the 2013 World Championships in Montreal, where he secured two world titles and a silver medal. His remarkable achievements not only propelled him to success but also inspired others, particularly the youth, with his unwavering optimism.

Despite facing physical limitations, Darko led a fulfilling life, embodying resilience and determination. His efforts within the Slovenian Sports Association for the Disabled contributed to fairer distribution of resources. In 2014, he furthered his impact by establishing the Sonček Association, dedicated to empowering individuals with disabilities.

Today, Darko resides in Podbrezje near Naklo, a testament to his indomitable spirit and unwavering commitment to overcoming obstacles.

What was your most important lesson in 2023?

In 2023, my most important lesson was that we should not take things for granted and, most importantly, take care of our physical and mental well-being even during good times.

What global trend will shape 2024?

In 2024, there will be a continuation of the self-care trend. Know-how from the sports industry will be used in mental and physical care for individuals with high-stress level jobs.

What will be the most key skill in 2024?

The most key skill in 2024 will be flexibility and agility.

Tips and tricks to help personal/business growth succeed in 2024:

Self-observation, always know which situations put you under negative stress and find solutions to control it.

What is your top resolution for 2024?

My top resolution for 2024 is to take better care of my physical and mental health.