With a little extra motivation, enthusiasm and courage:

Picture: Christoph Raithel / TEAMCHALLENGE GmbH 


Many handicapped athletes add to the starters field at DATEV Challenge Roth

This is something special, too: “More handicapped athletes than ever are participating in the DATEV Challenge Roth 2018”, announces race director Felix Walchshöfer at the press conference. Athletes, who probably won't be the first to finish Sunday's race, but nevertheless athletes, who will be met with respect and applause by hundred thousands of triathlon fans in Roth.

Handicapped athletes are a common sight and, at the same time, something special at the long distance race in Roth. The race is known for its dedication towards all athletes worldwide and for its relentless striving to offer the best possible conditions to each and everyone of them. 

Maybe it is true what Rajesh Durbal, the American with origins in Trinidad, said on Thursday: “As a handicapped person, you are used to face challenges every day. Therefore you need a lot more motivation and endurance for everyday life, which is a good mental preparation for working towards athletic greatness.”

It is impressive, how these special athletes make people forget about the handicaps, when they are racing.

He does not need any special assistance, says Rajesh Durbal (starter number 89) when asked. Only when finishing the swimming course, it would be great if someone could pull him from the water. Otherwise he would have to stay there. After that, he gets on a pretty standard bike before switching to other prostheses at Changing Zone II: his “running legs”. When the likeable athlete, whose only complete limb is one arm, talks about this, it sounds like the most normal thing in the world.

For others, DATEV Challenge Roth is a incredible team effort. For example for team Agar, which consists of 22-y/o Johnny Agar (starter number 93), who suffers from cerebral palsy, and his father Jeff. Jeff will pull his son along the swimming course in a boat, on the bike course, Johnny will be in a bike trailer, which is being pulled by his father. For the marathon, Johnny will use his wheelchair. But not all the way! He plans to get out of the wheelchair for the last kilometer and try to walk with the help of a special support frame. On his own feet, feet that are not supposed to carry him, he wants to reach the stadium and the finish line. That is the dream, Johnny Agar has come to Roth to fulfill.

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