INDIANAPOLIS — The Tokyo Paralympics began Tuesday, and there's a local runner from Indianapolis competing in the games. Noah Malone, 19, is one of the few legally blind Division 1 track athletes in the country.
“It’s an unreal experience so far,” Malone said. “It’s so cool seeing a different culture like this.”
Malone arrived in Tokyo a few weeks ago to begin training for the 2020 Paralympics.
“Such a unique situation that we’re in. It’s almost like a once in a lifetime opportunity,” he said.
On Thursday, he will compete in the 100 and 400 meter dash, representing the United States.
“It means a lot,” Malone said. “It’s definitely a huge honor being able to represent our country and wear USA across our chest when we run.”
A runner his entire life, at 13 years old his life changed forever.
“It was actually sudden,” he described. “Like really sudden.”
He was diagnosed with a vision condition that strips away his central vision, leaving him only with his peripheral vision.
“It comes about for most people around 13, 12 or something like that, early teens,” he said.
His condition is stable now. He’s still able to run, but he has some challenges.
“Just like, look at the lines at an angle so I’m not looking at them directly on so I can run up my lane,” Malone said. “But once I do that, honestly, everything is the same as anybody else.”
“That’s why Noah is such a great story because he’s breaking down those barriers, he’s breaking down those misconceptions about what people can do if they lose their vision,” Jeffrey Mittman, Bosma Enterprises CEO said.
Malone also participated in a student training and employment program with Bosma Enterprises that he credits for building his confidence and being able to achieve his goals. Bosma is the largest employer of those who are blind or visually impaired in Indiana, providing rehabilitation services in all 92 counties, plus job training and work opportunities.
“You’re trying to show the possible, show them what’s possible,” Mittman said. “So, you’re giving them the skills and the confidence they need to go forward in life. We help them with orientation and mobility, we help with technology, we help with those things that they can take on forward. Noah can take this on to his athletic career, his academic career, and eventually his professional career. We are just trying to help them to be successful in life.”
“If you have something that motivates you or inspires you, there’s always a way to get it done. Whether you lose your vision or whatever the case may be. Paralympics just so happens to be the platform that I can do that on,” Malone added. “So there’s always a way to achieve your goals no matter what.”
To learn more, visit bosma.org.