As the sole contestant in the men’s 100m IT4 race for athletes with disabilities at the Military World Games in Wuhan, central China, 46-year-old Edwin Vermetten was competing against time and himself.
Saluting solemnly in the direction of his national flag when the Dutch national anthem was played at the Wuhan Five Rings Sports Center on Tuesday, Vermetten stood upright on the top of the podium full of emotions.
Just a few know the hard work he had endured to be able to stand up and walk. He almost lost his life and was physically disabled in a car crash 18 years ago. After the accident, it took him nine years to regain mobility. He said it was not an easy task for him, recalling his rehabilitation. When he started to train in order to stand, he kept falling, but he kept trying. When he could stand firmly, he set a fresh goal for himself – to walk a little bit further every day.
“Even if you get hurt badly or fall into great difficulties, you must be positive and active, and in this way you can embrace a promising future,” said Vermetten, who is currently serving in the Royal Netherlands Air Force.
On winning the gold medal at the Games, he said, “it was a miracle for me.”
“But I had hoped to compete with more athletes in the race,” added Vermetten.