Xavier Valbuena lost his right leg, Jesús Noriega was born without a right hand and Eric Villalón was born with only five percent sight, practicing for the South Pole. (click to enlarge)
Xavier: After I joined the expedition I discovered that I can do things. I can run. I can ride a bike. This project has given me complete and total freedom. (click to enlarge)
Practicing on Greenland in November. Jesús says that he never considered himself as disabled, but since his contact with the team over the past year and a half he is inspired by a newfound proud in being disabled, not his actual condition. Eric says about the expedition, Over-protection, other peoples pity and self-pity and the lack of willingness to become all we can become are the biggest disabilities we all face. (click to enlarge)
Experienced polar explorers, Ignacio Oficialdegui and Ramon Larramendi will guide the team. These two guys and Juanma Viu, crossed Antarctica in a sailcraft during the 2005-06 season, covering 4500 km in 63 days. All above images courtesy of polosursinlimites.org (click to enlarge)
I994 Norwegian Cato Zahl Pedersen (middel), who has lost both arms at age 12, skied unsupported from Berkner Island to the South Pole, together with countrymen Lars Ebbesen (left) and Odd Harald Hauge (right). Image courtesy of Lars Ebbesen (click to enlarge)
Heads-up from Spanish team with special challenges to the South Pole

Posted: Dec 12, 2008 04:05 pm EST
(ThePoles.com) The one was born without a hand, the other one has only five percent sight and the third one has lost a leg, but they have one thing in common, to challenge themselves on Antarctica. Jes├║s Noriega, Eric Villal├│n and Xavier Valbuena will attempt to ski the last two degrees (220 km) to the South Pole early January 2009, with guides Ignacio Oficialdegui and Ramon Larramendi. In an email to ExplorersWeb Jes├║s gives a heads-up about their expedition.

The special challenge

This teams objective is to show the abilities of the disabled. Jes├║s was born without a right hand and Eric with very poor sight, seeing little more than colours and shadows. Xavier is the only one of the three who was not disabled since birth. He lost his right leg in a motorcycle accident eight years ago.

The prosthetic leg

In an article in the Herald Tribune (see expedition website), Xavier said his unique prosthetic leg was specially designed for the sub-zero temperatures.

Xavier also said in the article, After I joined the expedition I discovered that I can do things. I can run. I can ride a bike. This project has given me complete and total freedom.

A new found pride

Jes├║s said to the Herald Tribune that he never considered himself as disabled, but since his contact with the team over the past year and a half he is inspired by a newfound proud in being disabled, not his actual condition.

"Become all we can become"

Eric, a Paralympics ski medalist, told the news source, Over-protection, other peoples pity and self-pity and the lack of willingness to become all we can become are the biggest disabilities we all face.

He also told them that he didnt hesitate to participate in the project when they asked him, Its like if someone calls and they ask if you want to go to the moon. You say yes. You would never say no.

The guides

Although the three are novices on polar ski expeditions, two experienced polar explorers will guide them, Ignacio Oficialdegui and Ramon Larramendi. These two guys and Juanma Viu, crossed Antarctica in a sailcraft during the 2005-06 season, covering 4500 km in 63 days.

Early January 2009 Spanish team Jes├║s Noriega, Eric Villal├│n and Xavier Valbuena, accompanied by guides Ignacio Oficialdegui and Ramon Larramendi will ski the last two degrees to the South Pole. Jes├║s was born without a right hand and Eric with only five percent sight. Xavier lost his right leg in a motorcycle accident. Their objective is to show the abilities of the disabled.

Jesus Noriega (37) lives in Madrid with his wife and three children. He likes photography, tennis, cycling and football. Xavier Valbuena (44) lives in Barcelona and is a high-school biology teacher who now discovered that he can run and ride a bicycle. Eric Villal├│n (35) also lives in Barcelona. Between 1998 and 1996 he competed in three Paralympic Games and won nine medals for skiing.

In 2005-06, Ignacio Oficialdegui (41) and Ramon Larramendi (42) and Juanma Viu succeeded not only to do a remarkable crossing of the Antarctic continent, onboard a highly unusual sailcraft", but they also covered a total distance of 4500 km in 63 days at that time the longest and fastest non-motorized polar traverse ever.

I994 Norwegian Cato Zahl Pedersen, who has lost both arms at age 12, skied unsupported from Berkner Island to the South Pole, together with countrymen Lars Ebbesen and Odd Harald Hauge. They completed the distance of approximately 1300 km in 54 days. At the age of 12, Cato's life came to a halt. A high voltage accident stripped him of both his arms. That's a major disaster, more so to a little guy dreaming of big adventures. Cato's destiny became to prove that the farthest corners of our world are not exclusive to the super fit. Devoted to sports, Cato won 11 gold medals in the Olympics for the disabled in 1980, 1984 and 1988.


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