A true sporting family: six competing at Para Games

BERLIN, March 10 (Xinhua) -- Despite the whole Aigner family's inexhaustible desire for sport, one member had to stay back home in Austria to look after the family farm.

Irmgard Aigner didn't mind doing the important job looking after horses, chickens and other animals in Gloggnitz, 90 kilometers south of the capital Vienna.

The left-behind daughter might not even be able to see all the competitions live, as most take place at night due to the time difference to her competing relatives over 7,500 kilometers away at the 2022 Paralympic Games in Beijing. And farming requires getting up early.

But Irmgard is well informed about her families' achievements and the enchanting story they added to the 2022 Beijing Games.

Her brother 16-year-old Johannes Aigner's four medals - two golds, one silver and one bronze - rule the headlines in the Alpine nation. Other Aigners are yet to start in the competition.

Father Christian, mother Petra, and their children Barbara, Veronika and Elisabeth are also part of the Austrian team.

While father and mother cover the job of coaching and caring, the visually-impaired Johannes, Barbara and Veronika are all competing, with Elisabeth acting as a guide for her Veronika in all races.

Barbara and Johannes are accompanied by guides Matteo Fleischmann and Klara Sykora from outside the family.

As soon as one of the Aigners crosses the finish line, the family's council comes together to discuss the race.

Most of the Aigner youngsters, who are aged between 16 and 23, have attended the same school in Austria.

"We parents are not good skiers, so it can't be us having passed on the talent to compete on snow," Petra Aigner quipped.

It was the older sister that triggered the desire for winter sports among the younger ones. Guide Elisabeth, a policewoman, started skiing at just 22 months.

"We saw her doing that and all of us wanted to do the same," said double Olympic gold medalist Johannes.

Since then, the Aigners have never looked back when it comes to snow and sports. One might call them a group of enthusiasts following a professional approach.

"When you have five children and all five do sports, you'd better get yourself organized," said Christian, who mostly takes the children to training sessions or competitions.

Despite staying at home, Irmgard knows all about the challenging job of a guide that requires a special education, as she has also served as a guide when needed.

"Sport is the center of our life and gives our children a line to follow," Christian added, "Well, aside from the farming issues and our vacation guests."

For the moment, sports keeps most of the family busy, as sisters Veronika and Barbara are gearing up for their competitions and Johannes might harvest more medals over the weekend. "It's a great feeling to have all of them around," Johannes remarked.