Europe: Five of the visually impaired individuals are going to participate in the Brussels-Capital Region 20 km on Sunday together with a partner that will assist through guidance.
On Sunday, May 29, the 42nd edition of the Brussels 20 km run will take place after two years of the sporting event not taking place or taking place in a hybrid format.
This year, five of the visually impaired people, accompanied by Decathlon employees, with run the route from start to finish.
Together with Foundation iSee, the Brailleliga, UVC Brugmann as well as Cyclone A, the sports retailer Decathlon set up an initiative as part of its broader goal to make sports accessible to everyone and bring everyone all together.
Moreover, five of the staff members of the store have been working together with five visually impaired runners since February. Extra preparation is required because in duo running, besides good communication, it is also about trust in each other.
Along with this, Jean-Victor de Neve de Roden, initiator of the Decathlon Belgium running project, mentioned in the statement, “It is great to see how the trust between our staff and the visually impaired participants has grown in recent months.”
“Some of the duos tried to train at set times in order to achieve a certain personal goal, and others joined in just for fun. For one of the participants, the preparations and this edition of the 20 kilometres are extra special because he has not done any sport since the accident in which he lost his sight.”
The guide mostly gives necessary information, which differs for every runner, but largely involves indicating where there are kerbs, different surfaces, slippery maintenance hole covers, obstacles, and other runners.
Furthermore, the Project Leader Diversity Decathlon Belgium, Sophie Criquelion, concluded, “We want to inspire and show that people without and with a disability can also play sports together. It is a way for both to experience sport differently, too (re)discover and to get to know more about each other’s world.”