Athlete Huafrid Billimoria wants to represent India in the Paralympics
Diagnosed with dystonia at the age of 16, this 27-year-old athlete from Mumbai is just came in second at the Ironman Triathlon in Goa.
Athlete Huafrid Billimoria was bullied during school as he found it extremely difficult to carry out simple physical activities like running, walking and cycling. This was because he was diagnosed with dystonia at the age of 16 and had to deal with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Dystonia causes involuntary muscle contractions that cause repetitive or twisting movements. But that did not stop Billimoria from achieving his full potential as an athlete.
He recently competed in an Ironman Triathlon, which is a long duration race made up of three sections — running (21.1km), cycling (90km) and swimming (1.9km). It was held in Goa on November 13 and Billimoria stood second in the physically challenged category after completing the race in 7 hours and 35 minutes.
Talking about the challenges he faced during the race in Goa, the Mumbai-based athlete says, “My dystonia started acting up in the last 10 kilometers of the race. I suffered a lot of muscle spasms, cramps and nausea. I was severely dehydrated and my blood pressure dropped as well.”
He further says, this race was a “test of my mental capacity than physical strength” as it was quite hot and humid in Goa. There were strong headwinds which made cycling a challenge. Billimoria says, “During the running section, I ended up alternating between walking and running. I felt like giving up, but I did not.”
For many years, he has been working on creating an environment where others with similar neurological issues can also push themselves to do whatever they wish to. The athlete tries to spread awareness and encourages disabled individuals and their families to not get bogged down by their condition.
When asked what drives him to do all this (participate in such competitions and keep himself going), the 27-year-old says, “I don’t want anyone to go through what I did.”
Going forward, Billimoria wishes to represent India in the Paralympics. He is working on getting his classifications, which will allow him to compete at international and national events, collect points and qualify for the games. “It’s a long shot. But I will give it my best. I want to represent India at the international level.”