Andrei

Andrei
Russia

Belgorod, Russia – February 2019. Kozhemyakin performs a leg extension exercise on a simulator to workout the front surface of his thigh. Due to the injury, Andrei has no sensitivity in his legs, but thanks to faulty training he is able to lift a minimal weight.

43 year old Andrei Kozhemyakin is multiple award winning Russian, European and worldwide champion in shooting amongst people with musculoskeletal disorders. Even in his youth he took part in athletics, competing for champion of long jumping.

Belgorod, Russia – February 2019. Andrei changes clothes before training for in the shooting range. He trains there five times a week.

In 2002, at the age of 27, Andrei sustained a serious injury in an accident: he fell from the third story of a building and injured his back. He had three operations and had to learn to live in a wheelchair. The first year after the accident was particularly difficult, but Andrei received support from his mother, friends and an athletics coach. Three years after the injury, Kozhemyakin returned to the sport: at first he simply worked in a gym, had a go at powerlifting, and then became very interested in shooting. One year later, he won his first competition: in 2006 he received a silver medal in the Russian championship.

Belgorod, Russia – February 2019. After three surgical operations, large scars remain on Andrei’s body.

Belgorod, Russia – February 2019. Kozhemyakin reloads his rifle before the next shot. Each training session in the shooting range lasts four hours, during which the athlete exercises shooting from a position leaning on one knee, standing and lying down.

Belgorod, Russia – February 2019. Andrei is at home with his wife and daughter Milan.

He met his future wife, Olga, whilst already in a wheelchair. In 2014, the couple had a daughter who they called Milan. In order to support his family now, Andrei is working as a firefight dispatcher for the main directory of the Ministry of Emergency Services in the Belgorod region. Sport in his life still plays an important role: Kozhemyakin’s new goal is to take part in the Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

Belgorod, Russia – February 2019. Kozhemyakin is checking accessibility to the sauna for wheelchair users in the new Belgorod fitness club.

Belgorod, Russia – February 2019. Andrei.

Belgorod, Russia – February 2019. Andrei with a friend in the swimming pool.

Belgorod, Russia – February 2019. Andrei with friends at a volleyball match, “Belogorie” – “Kuzbass”.

Belgorod, Russia – February 2019. Kozhemyakin’s training in the shooting range is over, the coach puts the rifle away.