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"Being their eyes, not only on the track, but for actions such as walking or eating is a great responsibility."

The student Miren Andonegui won the Spanish championship as a skier guide of a young girl with reduced visibility.

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Tecnun student Miren Andonegui with Enara, her skiing partner. PHOTO: Courtesy
11/06/18 17:08 Communication Services

When Miren Andonegui started her programs of study at Tecnun she thought she would not be able to combine it with one of her greatest passions: skiing. "I thought, I'm going to focus on the programs of study and take the sport as leisure." What Andonegui didn't know was that an opportunity would knock on her door in the second year of degree program, offering her the chance to be the guide skier for a 14-year-old blind teenager whose dreams promised to surpass any of her limitations. 

"I got a call from my coach and she said 'Hey Miren, in Lasarte there is a visually impaired girl who needs a coach guide. She's on the national team. I told your achievements and your story, we see that you are young, that you live quite close and we would like you to join and be her guide'," Andonegui recalls fondly. 

The name of this lasartearra is Enara, she is 16 years old, and despite having a high visual impairment "wants to do things like everyone else. She doesn't use a cane to walk, nor does she need Braille to write", as the Tecnun student says after two years as her skiing partner. 

Enara's personality caught Andonegui: "She told me that when she was 8 years old she wanted to ski with her older brother and her parents told her not to go, that she couldn't do it. But she said 'I'm going too'". Perhaps it is this perseverance and desire to excel that has led Enara to win first place in the Spanish Championship for the mentally, physically or visually impaired.

Of course, he does it with Miren at his side, always dressed in bright colors to make it easier for him to work: "We go like with tiny microphones to communicate, and inside there are some speakers. If there are any ice patches notice, but as I wear bright colors, she sees me well, because she guide for the color. Before the degree program we do a reconnaissance of the route to see how it will be. First the track is recognized, we study it a bit and then we go down it," Andonegui describes with a broad smile. 

Miren Andonegui

"I am delighted. Doing what I like and learning a lot about the value of overcoming. You see her and she wants to do it so much that in the end, she succeeds". Once the season starts, between December and April, they take advantage of the weekends to train on the slopes of Candanchú, Formigal or Baqueira, and when summer arrives, they go to test on a glacier in Switzerland. "I'm also getting to know a lot of things that I wouldn't otherwise know," this Tecnun student reflects aloud.  

Their first shot of contact arose in Madrid in 2016 in the Xamadú shopping center to take the first steps. Andonegui remembers it as if it were yesterday: "We went by train and when we arrived in Madrid I told her: 'Stay here, I lower everything and help you get off.' But she, seeing that she was a hindrance that prevented people from getting off the train, wanted to get out of the way. So she dropped her shoes on the tracks and we put on a show...", she recalls. 

Being her eyes, not only on the track, but for life, for walking or eating, is a great responsibility for Andonegui. "If something happens to her, in the end the responsibility is also a little bit mine, and until something like that happens you don't realize how much responsibility you have," he continues.

"It is beautiful to see how she evolves...There is grade a huge change from the first year to the second. Because she is assimilating more and more what is happening and is seeing that for certain things she does need financial aid. And that's how things work out, as she gets more involved," she says with conviction.   

Andonegui is now taking a break from this experience as he is leaving for Erasmus in the United States in December and will return in August. But he intends to continue upon his return. "I'm really enjoying it. We want to go to the European Championships and the horizon is to compete in the Paralympic Games in Bejin. We are working for it", predicts this woman from San Sebastian.