“You train a whole year:” Wounded warriors compete in Paratriathlon National Championships

PLEASANT PRAIRIE -- Eighteen service members from the "Semper Fi Fund's Team Semper Fi Program" on Sunday, June 25th competed in the 2017 USA Paratriathlon National Championships at Prairie Springs Park in Pleasant Prairie -- in conjunction with the Pleasant Prairie Triathlon. It was an effort to help them recover through sport.

A triathlon is a daunting challenge in its own right. Athletes must swim 750 meters, bike 20 kilometers and run five kilometers. If that doesn't sound intimidating, imagine doing it as a paratriathlete.

2017 USA Paratriathlon National Championships

"Triathlon starts with a swim, and with me, just having one arm, that's definitely where I'm more disabled," Omar Bermejo said.

Bermejo is a member of Semper Fi -- a group of wounded warriors who wanted a way to stay competitive and active, despite their injuries.

Omar Bermejo

"You train a whole year to do this. One of the caveats in order to do this, in order to be a champion, is you got to live like you're already the champion," Bermejo said.

The Semper Fi Fund helps athletes with a wide range of disabilities -- whether it be vision-related, amputees and even cognitive disorders. All athletes find ways to compete.

2017 USA Paratriathlon National Championships

2017 USA Paratriathlon National Championships

"I won! I won my category. I'm the national champion now," Bermejo said.

2017 USA Paratriathlon National Championships

2017 USA Paratriathlon National Championships

 

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