Robert Lätt

Robert was born in Põlva County. When celebrating his 6 months of age, it was noted that the baby's right eye pupil was not black, but pinkish, transparent. Subsequent studies at the clinics in Põlva, Tartu and Tallinn showed that the child was unlikely to have ever seen with this eye. It so due to a tumor. The eye was operated out when Robert was 10 months old. At that time, there was still hope that the left eye would remain. At about two years of age, the disease appeared to be in the left eye. Chemotherapy and long hospital periods began. During his first four years, Robert spent a year and a half in hospitals. Endless studies in Tartu and Tallinn did not work out. 4-year-old Robert was sent with his parents to Essen, Germany. World's greatest professionals of that time looked into his eyes. The decision was definite: only immediate surgery could save child's life. Other way the retina in the eye would have been so engulfed that it would penetrate the brain. Diagnosis: bilateral retinal tumor. It is a disease with an average incidence of one in half a million people. Robert was four and a half years old when his left eye was operated out. That was the end for his eyesight forever. The operation took place a few days before Christmas 1998.

Despite being blind, Robert attended a regular school and graduated from elementary school in Põlva. That due to his mother's efforts and family support. First grades were followed by three years of secondary school studies at the Emajõgi School in Tartu. There, he was involved in many projects. For example, he was studying history as an extern. Also, he was attending Olympiads and even taking part in a literature competition (4th place). Not to mention of being active in different sport disciplines. The main sports were blinds table tennis, as well as general physical exercise, running, rowing.

After graduating from high school, Robert entered Tallinn University to study history. "I would have liked to go to Tartu, but one of requirements was a good result in mathematics exam" - He recalls. For him Tallinn seemed a little scary at first. A big city and far from a supportive family. But all these aggravating circumstances did not stop him. Robert completed his Bachelor in 2017 - with a nominal time of three years! His thesis dealt with the future hopes of Estonian forest brothers on the basis of preserved diaries. Robert is currently pursuing a Master’s degree. He is also studying massage at the Estonian Blind Massage Association training center. Robert says he learns massage for two reasons. First, that as an athlete he is interested in self-help and long-term health. Second, that that knowledge is useful no skill will fall behind.

Robert actively pursues sports. He goes to the Blind Table Tennis Club in North Estonia on average twice a week. The gym is beautiful, new, renovated and clean. He has competed so far in four European Championships. Twice in the World Championships. All of this in addition to various smaller tournaments. At the beginning of 2018, Robert participated in international competitions in Finland. There he held a bronze match with his training partner Ališer Hožanijazov. This time Robert fell behind and finished fourth in the tournament. In the summer of 2018, there will be tournaments in Lithuania and Latvia. The main event for future season of course is European Championships in Poland.

Robert loves to read a lot. "Reading" is still done through hearing, and there are many audio books and tech gadgets that can read text aloud today. Robert likes science fiction and historical novels, as well as travel books. From travel books, these are old books from the series "The World and Some," such as Thor Heyerdahl's books on Kon-Tiki and Ra expeditions.

Robert says he has made good friends thanks to sports. But thanks to books, his world has expanded in space and time.

There is a TV show about Robert. The 9th episode of show "Iseolemine" on Estonian Television, aired on December 11, 2017. The show is available for viewing on the ETV website (https://etv.err.ee/v/elusaated/iseolemine/saated/cd13ab7c-d0e7-41ca-9d72 -cd7590154979 / self-910).

The story was written in April 2018