Anca was introduced to Special Olympics Romania in 2003, when she began participating in athletics. According to Romania’s National Director, Cristian Ispas, she transitioned out of the institution and into a group home for people with disabilities, thanks to the help of Foundation Motivation Romania and the sponsorship of an Irish charity known as Comber Romania, which works to end orphanages in Romania and ensure that people with disabilities can fully participate and be included in society.
At the 2011 Special Olympics World Games, Anca was joined by 46 other athletes from Romania who are competing in bocce, gymnastics, athletics and table tennis, as well as unified football and unified basketball. The bocce team in particular has provided stiff competition to their big rivals from SO Costa Rica.
The two teams met for the first time in the preliminary round, where Romania won by a single point. Anca, who is usually assisted by a wheelchair, uses a walking stick when she plays bocce. After Anca made the winning shot, Costa Rica disputed it on the grounds that her walking stick had interfered with the defense. The officials overruled the complaint and Romania was declared the winner.
The two teams then advanced to the semi-final round, where they both came out ahead of their opponents. Thus, the two teams met again for a rematch in the final round, where the competition was neck and neck. In the final seconds of the game, Anca’s final shot brought Romania the victory!
As her team rushed around her in celebration, Anca was beaming with pride. As Ispas describes, “Anca’s confidence has improved tremendously since she first started in Special Olympics. At first she would ask ‘how can I play? I am in a wheelchair?’ but now, Anca is Team Romania’s hero. “