Born on the 20th January 1984, Gabriel Copola's passion with sport started at an early age when he first started to play soccer. Unfortunately, a bicycle accident at the age of 11 resulted in Gabriel suffering a spinal cord injury - "That's the reason I now use a wheelchair. It was a significant change in my life, but my passion for sport remained just as strong".
It was whilst attending high school with his friends where Gabriel first encountered his true passion - table tennis. "I started practicing table tennis after participating in a sports day for young people with disabilities. From that moment I never stopped practicing. It's a very popular sport around the world. It's fun and requires a lot of speed and intelligence. It's a sport where there are no physical limitations. We can all play table tennis". With time, his desire to play table tennis increased, so Gabriel started to divide his time between training for Table Tennis and his studying for a degree in Physical Education. "From that moment onwards, I never stopped practicing. On a television show, I met a Table Tennis athlete who won a Paralympic medal and I thought 'I could do that too'".
Now 32 years old, Gabriel is ranked Number 6 in the world for Table Tennis and his passion for the sport is as strong as ever. "What I love most is the training and getting to play against the best competitors in the world. My biggest challenge is to be the best that I can be". Gabriel has also since received his bachelor's degree in Physical Education. Currently working at two universities teaching and also working in the area of Sports in the National Prison of Argentina, Gabriel is eager to pass his passion on to a new generation of potential athletes. "When playing table tennis, I feel so alive, it gives me an avenue to be competitive. It's the perfect blend of energy, passion and love. It requires quick thinking, fast responses and accuracy. It improves your physical capacity and connects us to many other people, even against athletes without disabilities. I can't imagine life without it. I'm eager to share with wheelchair users my experience - to help and inspire".