In 2016, as the first ever Czech equestrian athlete, she made it to the Paralympic Games in Rio de Jainera, Brazil, where she finished in the first half of the starting field. She then defended her Paralympic participation in Tokyo, Japan in 2021. In addition, she was able to successfully study law with her disability.
We are talking about Anastasje Vishtalová, a Czech woman of Ukrainian origin, who has a great chance of making it to the third Paralympic Games in a row. Unfortunately, she ran into bureaucracy and lost the money intended for the national sports team; last year she even had to finance all the races from her own long-term savings. Her last chance to complete the necessary qualifying races and represent the Czech Republic at the Paralympics was to ask the public for financial help. The company Sazka decided to support Anastasja in her dream and cover a substantial part of the costs with the amount of 250,000 crowns.
“My salary barely covers the normal monthly operating costs, such as stables and horse training, or riding lessons. My parents have to help me with veterinary items and the way to training sessions,” explains Vištalová, who currently works as a paralegal. The twenty-eight-year-old disabled rider has also successfully completed her studies at the Faculty of Law of Charles University in Prague. “Due to a bureaucratic error, I lost the funds intended for the national sports team, which were supposed to cover at least half of the international trips, i.e. the qualifying races of the World Cup stages. Due to my excellent international results, I would be eligible for this support, I have been receiving it since 2016,” she adds.
“Maybe Russian and Belarusian athletes will go to the Olympics, who, in our opinion, have no business being there. We decided to support the Czech Republic of Ukrainian origin, which, on the other hand, belongs to the Olympics, but due to the lack of funds, there is a risk that it will not get there. That’s why we didn’t hesitate to support Anastasja,” says Petr Jonák, director of external relations and sustainability at Sazka. “Anastasja will use the sum of 250,000 crowns to prepare and meet the qualification limits at the Summer Paralympic Games. A part will also go towards veterinary treatment, rehabilitation and physiotherapy for horses,” adds Jonák.
Vištalová is a six-time national champion, multiple winner of the paradressage cup and rider of the year in 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2022. Anastasja has suffered from cerebral palsy since birth, in her case it is a symmetrical impairment of both lower and upper limbs. He moves with French poles, but has to use a wheelchair for longer distances. “The horse gives me legs, it makes me feel free. I believe that no hour of life is wasted if it is spent sitting down,” says Anastasja.
Anastasja is also trying to raise additional funds through a public fundraiser organized by the Emil Foundation. More information and the possibility to contribute here: https://emilnadace.cz/pribeh/Anastasja