I had blood blisters on my feet: Russian armless triathlete wins at European championships

Russian Paralympic athlete Vladimir Ryabokon has claimed gold at the Multisport European championships in Ibiza, Spain, getting the best result in the triathlon event.

Ryabokon, who lost both arms during a tragic accident at a factory more than 30 years ago, told RT about his tremendous victory as well as the obstacles he was forced to overcome in order to win the coveted gold in Spain.

The athlete who uses supporting metal poles to ride a bicycle said that the heavy storm that broke out in Spain made the competition more complicated and even dangerous.

The competition was held in severe weather conditions,” Ryabokon said.

There was a thunderstorm and we were forced to wait until the sea calms down before taking part in the swimming event. Heavy rain washed out roads and which made the cycling stage enormously difficult with many falls and collisions.

The athlete explained that the running distance was the most enduring part of the three-stage event which saw many athletes withdraw from the competition.

The final marathon stage was held in the old city with cobblestone roads and steep slopes which made many competitors withdraw from the race. My top goal for the running stage was just to finish the distance, as terrible weather conditions tired out many athletes during swimming and cycling events,” he said.

The most difficult part of the competition for me was the running segment, because all the sand and rocks collected in my shoes after the cycling stage disturbed me during the entire running distance. When I finished the distance I had blood blisters on my feet.

Ryabokon stressed that he could have skipped the European championships had it not been his friends who helped him to solve all the problems, including buying new plane tickets after the para athlete was involved in a car accident hours before his scheduled flight to Spain.

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I would also like to thank my friends who provided me with financial help to prepare for the competition. They defrayed all expenses connected with my participation at the Multisport European championships, including fees and travel costs,” the athlete said.

Moreover, we (with my wife) met with a serious car accident on our way to Yekaterinburg airport after a car from the oncoming lane crashed into us. As a result we missed a plane and were forced to buy new tickets. Fortunately my friends helped me to cope with these difficulties.”

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