If you are determined, nothing is impossible. In an extraordinary feat, India’s Nikel Dalal becomes the first-ever blind athlete to finish Ironman 70.3 Triathlon race in Dubai. The race compiles 1.9 km of swimming, followed by 90 km biking and 21 km running all at one stretch. The target was to finish the race under 8 hrs 30 mins. Dalal achieved the feat with the help of his sighted ally Arham Shaikh.
Dalal is a professional speech therapist and a state-level swimmer. His indomitable courage led him to participate in several sea swimming competitions. And he took up cycling just last year. He lost his eye-sight five years ago owing to glaucoma but it didn’t take a toll on his spirit. Dalal was determined to complete the race and that’s why he approached PowerPeaks, which was already preparing a team of 15 athletes for Dubai Ironman.
Dalal asked if he could train with the team and join them for the race. Soon, he was on board. Chaitanya Velhal, founder and head coach of PowerPeaks — The Athlete Lab, who has been training Dalal, holds a Masters degree in Biomechanics from Australia. The kind of precision and structured training he offers to athletes gives him an edge over others. That said, coaching Dalal required a different approach.
Niket always liked challenges. After losing sight, he ventured into swimming. Slowly and steadily, he gathered confidence and interest and started venturing into other sports as well. His vision remains intact even if he has lost an eyesight.