Blind twins show off proves in Mayon triathlon

By Rhaydz B. Barcia LEGAZPI CITY --- Despite disabilities due to blindness brothers Jerome and Joshua Bautista Nelmida, both 17, of Alabang Manila decided to join the gruelling swim-bike-run events as they showed off their prowess in the Mt. Mayon triathlon Asian Cup here. The Nelmidas’ participation in the gruelling event wowed fellow triathletes and the watching Bicolanos for finishing the full cycle of events that included swimming, biking and running in the Age Group Sprint category here. Jerome and Joshua who are presently studying at Philippine National School for the Blind swam the open water of Albay Gulf with their triathlon guides Teddy Diaz and Bernard Cruz. Jerome was assisted by Teddy Diaz while Joshua was supported by Bernard Cruz. a chord was attached to their triathlon guides during swimming and running events while they rode the bike in tandem. The twins were born without corneas and have not seen the light of day since birth but excel in so many things with the help of their supportive parents who joined and cheered for Jerome and Joshua. Jerome and Joshua swam 750 meters; went on biking for 20-km and 5-km run in tandem with their triathlon guides. They brought with them their tandem bike from Manila along with their parents Ric, 48, and mother Annette, 48. Jerome said that they have been joining the multi-disciplined sport of triathlon for three years now. But this is the first time they joined in Mt. Mayon Triathlon Asian cup here. Jerome and Joshua’s presence in Mt. Mayon Triathlon Asian cup encouraged observers and spectators, especially the youth to follow through the “no boundaries and limits” attitude of the twins who showed courage and determination despite their physical disabilities. The blind twins hit the finish line with big support and cheering from the crowd, including fellow triathlon athletes. The twins hope to represent the country in international competitions for para-triathletes someday. Meanwhile, Lauren Plaza, 16, Grade 10 at Brent International School bagged the championship for Junior Elite category in the Mt. Mayon Triathlon Asian Cup competition. Lauren bested participants in junior elite division from 15 countries on Sunday here. Lauren started in extreme sport since she was 9 years old through the encouragement of her elder brother and was discovered by the Philippine team. “I became a national triathlete for two years now and is part of the Philippine team. I joined the Mt. Mayon triathlon Asian Cup in Legazpi City as this is my preparation for the upcoming Asian Triathlon competition to be held in Indonesia next week. And so, this is my way of visiting Bicol, my mother’s hometown where my family and relatives expressed their remarkable support,” Lauren said. The junior male and female elite participants went through 750-meter swim, 20-km bike and 5-km run. The event is part of Legazpi City’s annual Ibalong Festival.