Azra Dedić, judoka with Down Syndrome

Azra Dedić, judoka with Down Syndrome

The passing year for Azra has been marked by the bronze medal that she won at the World Championship, and she continues to follow her sporting dreams, where going to the Olympic Games is the biggest one

Written by: Elma Zećo

Ramzija and Husein Dedić from Bihać are proud of their daughter Azra (23), who was born four years after their son. From an early age, their sweet girl, born with Down Syndrome, showed how persistent and determined she was, and above all how sweet-natured she was. Therefore, it’s no wonder that everyone from Bihać knows of Azra. And they love her! Because she deserves it.

Hard-working young woman

Azra has an artistic soul. She loves painting, mostly nature. Because of her greatest love – sport – she has won the affection of people across her homeland, where people got to know her as the first person with Down Syndrome who exercised her right to work.

“I manage to do everything on time. I go to work, and I have been training three times per week at Judo club Una for ten years already. I love all the exercises and techniques. My parents were the ones who saw that I was talented at sports, and it was my decision to do judo”, says Azra, who has been to numerous competitions, however, one in particular has overshadowed all the rest – participating at the World Championship for judoka with an intellectual disability in Cologne, where she won a bronze medal.

“The competition was very strong. There were competitors from Germany, Sweden, Austria…but I’m happy with my performance. It was great”, says Azra, who is thrilled by trips to international competitions, not just because of meeting with sportspeople, but because for her it’s also an opportunity to get to know a new environment and its culture.

“I’ve been to competitions in Kopar, Izola, Pordenone and Ravena. When I go on trips, I’m most interested in the historical monuments”, says Azra, whose trips to competitions don’t happen without her mum Ramzija, her loyal companion, who is full of excitement each time.

Rocky road to the stars

The path of the Dedić family, as can be assumed, was not simple, but they did everything in their power so that Azra could exercise her right to a normal life.

“Azra was always an inspiration to me. When she was first born, I went through a crisis, facing something new and completely unknown in life, but this lasted a brief time for me. I came to my senses and decided to give her everything I could in life, so that she would achieve her maximum. It’s the duty of every parent to provide their child with whatever is in their power. I saw that Azra was persistent, that she had a will, that she had a desire, and I gave it my all for her to succeed on that path”, says Ramzija, and adds: “Considering that the realm of vulnerable categories of the population is not systematically dealt with, the development of children with Down Syndrome depends on the involvement of their parents. Unfortunately, for most, time passes in the battle for existence, some don’t have the courage, and others the knowledge about how to reach the goal.”

It is well known that people with Down Syndrome are physically flexible, which Azra’s parents soon realised. She could perform movements that most typical children would have to practise, such as the splits, and they wanted for her time after school to be constructive. By chance, they met the coach from Judo club Una, Fikret Bečić, who told them that their daughter was talented in this sport. That is how it all began.

“And that was the right move, ideal for inclusion. At the club everyone breathes as if they were one person. Even people from Western countries were surprised by the exceptional conditions. Many can learn about what real inclusion is from this club”, continues Ramzija, while Azra points out: “We do everything together. The coach doesn’t differentiate and there are absolutely no privileges.”

Source of happiness for her family

Apart from in society in general, Azra is known as a reliable colleague in her workplace CM, where she has been working for a year.

“Work is great for me. I have wonderful colleagues. I do my tasks: I stock the shelves, I put the discount prices on goods, help the customers with their purchases… I’m grateful to my boss, who gave me the opportunity to work, because now I feel valuable like everyone else”, says Azra happily, who is, at the same time, currently the only employed person in her family. After sixteen years of working in their own store, her parents had to close it down. Therefore, they all hope that the near future will be better when it comes to that.

And while they will memorise the passing year due to Azra’s success at the World Championship, their darling continues to dream new sporting dreams for herself.

“I would like to go to the Olympic Games, and regardless of the difficulties that sportspeople have, I will strive to fulfil my dream. I want to tell all people to be persistent and follow their dreams”, are the words of Azra, without whom her mum cannot imagine life today.

“Everything that I imagined would be hard when she was born ended up being the opposite. She’s made so many great things happen and continues to do so… I wouldn’t change her for anything in the world!”, concludes Ramzija emotively.