Patrekur Axelson, 22, may have lost his eyesight two years ago, but neither his energy nor ambition. He is a sprinter whose goal it is to compete at the Paralympics in Tokyo four years from now.
An eye disease that runs in his family caused Patrekur to lose his 100 percent eyesight down to 5 percent vision in half a year. Before that happened, he practiced football with Leiknir athetic club. After turning blind, he reached out to the National Paralympic Committee of Iceland and the result was that he began training short distance running.
“It quickly became clear that my strength lies in sprinting,” he told RÚV. “I’ve always aimed rather high; at Tokyo 2020.”
Karl Jónsson, coach for the National Paralympic Committee of Iceland, believes Patrekur has a good chance to succeed at an international level: “He needs to improve his time by a second and a half in the 100m and about 2 seconds in the 200m; then, he’s at a stage where he can expect to make it to the finals of the top eight. Based on his situation today and his training level, there’s a good chance he will.”
Patrekur’s problem right now is a lack of guides with whom he can run. “In my group [of visual impairment], T11, a guide is required. He is my eyes; I run my race and he runs his. My eyes are covered and we have a line between us so that we stay together. Our cooperation is essential, and I couldn’t do this without him. It’s very hard to get an assistant; this is not something anyone can jump into,” Patrekur stated.