On International Albinism Awareness Day (13 June), Australia’s athlete Chad Perris said he wants to help bring awareness and equality to people with albinism whilst he competes at September’s Paralympic Games.
Born with albinism affecting the pigment in his eyes, skin and hair, Perris seeks to record personal bests in the 100m and 200m T13 events and, hopefully, climb onto the Rio 2016 podium.
“Albinism is something that is misunderstood,” the 23-year-old said.
“People with it are often portrayed negatively in Hollywood and it has become a stereotype.
“Not many people have the opportunity to have all eyeballs on them at a world event like the Paralympics, with people at home yelling at the TV and in the stands in Rio to cheer me on. That will be incredible.
“I hope that through athletics and my goals, I can get people to see those with albinism as equals. Training outdoors and competing in a hot, sunny country like Brazil will help break down those misconceptions.”
Perris won silver in the 200m T13 and bronze in the 100m T13 at last year’s Doha IPC Athletics World Championships.
“I am feeling strong and extremely confident that I can run as fast, if not faster, than I have ever had,” he said.
“I have been training for four years for this moment. Being able to show what I can do and achieve at my peak will mean everything.”
Perris will face Ireland’s multiple-Paralympic and world champion Jason Smyth, the fastest Paralympian in the world.
“It will be an extremely tight finish in Rio, but I have confidence in my body and in what I am doing,” said Perris.
“Smyth is extremely fast, but so is everyone in my class. It was close in Doha and will be close again in Rio. I think it will be a blanket finish and will be amazing to be in.”
Perris is training under the tutelage of renowned Paralympic track coach Iryna Dvoskina, following a strict regime and using local competitions as training races to ensure he hits his peak at Rio 2016.
“I am running fast up here, but the important thing for me now is to maintain my body condition,” he said. ___
Sport fans from around the world can now buy their Paralympic tickets for Rio 2016 from authorised ticket resellers (ATRs).
The IPC’s Global ATR is Jet Set Sports, and Rio 2016 tickets and packages can be purchased on the CoSport website.
Residents of Brazil can buy 2016 Paralympics tickets directly from the Rio 2016 website.