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.
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.
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