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No limits for these blind triathletes

THE multi-disciplined sport of triathlon, a grueling swim-bike-run event, by itself, is already a difficult  sport  for any one to take, needing a lot of effort and a high level of  commitment.

But then consider 15-year-old twin brothers Jerome and Joshua Nelmida, who  have formed  their own “No Limits Tri Team”  to join triathlon races and its variants like  aquathlon and duathlon.

Brothers Jerome and Joshua Nelmida with triathlon guides Anthony Lozada and Jun Deloso
There is nothing extraordinary really when you look at these two, until one learns that these boys were born without corneas and have not seen the light of day since birth.

Still, they chose  a sport like triathlon with the dream that one day, they can represent the country in international competitions for para-triathletes like them.

Manila Standard was at the 1st National Aquathlon Championship, a run-swim-run event, organized by the Triathlon Association of the Philippines held recently at the Camayan Beach Resort inside the Subic Freeport.

Among  the list of participants were Jerome and Joshua, though in their case, they only did a short swim-run course, which they both finished practically dead last in around 30 minutes, with the crowd at the finish line cheering  them on as they neared the end of the race, thanks to their guides, national triathlon coach Anthony Lozada and  triathlete Jun Deloso.

The blind brothers hit  the finish line with big smiles on their faces, basking in the crowd support they felt.

Lozada, who had to train for over a year on how to be a guide to blind athletes, even blindfolding himself to know exactly  how  one  feels being blind, said his heart goes out to these two.

He described them as  among  the best athletes  he has trained in terms on attitude, not caring how cold  the water  is  for their swim training, or how long a road or a bike training will last.

“It is more difficult on the part of us guides because we always have to be aware that  our partners do not see and will not automatically  avoid a rut on the road or in a bike turn, swing to the same side as  the guide, not knowing  when those  things will happen. Communication is very important between us,” said Lozada.

Annette Nelmida, the mother of the twins and who had to undergo training herself in order to to take care of her two sons properly, said: “The whole family is  supportive of  Jerome and Joshua. We want  them  to grow up as normally as possible. In the past, we have even brought them to a camping trip with Boy Scouts. They  have also learned to play  the piano, can sing and even are PBA  and football fans with  their own idols,” she said with pride in her voice.

“We want  people to see not their disabilities but what they  can accomplish despite their disability,” she  added.

Topics: Triathlon , Jerome Nelmida , Joshua Nelmida , No Limits Tri Team , Aquathlon , Duathlon
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