“That’s why sport is everyone’s right”

Stefano Petranca is a visually impaired athlete: he runs out of passion, but above all to make people understand that sport is everyone’s right and that there can be no barriers

Irene Righetti

@
irene_righetti

Playing sport is a right for everyone, and Stefano Petranca shouts it out to the world by participating in marathons, half-marathons, duathlons, ultra races and trail competitions.

“At the moment I am participating in trail races, off-road. Some time ago, I was prevented from participating in a duathlon competition. I was told that it was dangerous for an athlete visually impaired. So I decided to participate in a much more complicated event”.

He took part in a trail to prove that anything is possible, because you don’t have to build walls, but tear them down.

“In sport there should be no barriers and I proved it by participating in a 19 kilometer trail in Taurisano. It was difficult but not impossible; in the narrowest and most difficult single track points bumpy, the guide and I went very slowly, being very attentive to the conformity of the terrain, I was prepared anyway because in training I always try to do more difficult routes, so as not to have problems in the race “.

Stefano can only see shadows, due to a progressive disease which, over time, leads to absolute blindness: retinitis pigmentosa. For this reason when he competes next to him he always has a “guardian angel”…

“The guide must be very lucid because he must point out obstacles, anomalies in the road, etc. But often it is not necessary to say anything, the symbiosis is total and I can understand everything without speaking to each other and the guide we are united by the same passion for sport, I put my heart into it, I guide my eyes”.

A very important role, but it’s not always easy to find someone to accompany Stefano…

“The guide spends a lot of energy with me, for this reason he should be a little stronger than me. I compete to feel good and to carry the message that sport is everyone’s right. That’s why I do part of an association called “ASD Moglie Mai” which encourages disabled children to practice physical activity.

Can I request a guide?

“You can register on the “Disabled in the race” site, giving your availability, I have often found someone there who has accompanied me in the races around Italy”.

In his daily activity, however, he is helped by a very special guide: a Labrador named Lapo.

“He’s a working dog with whom I have a very close relationship; I go everywhere with him, it’s like he’s my shadow, and he also accompanies me to the office.”

To make up for the lack of sight there are the other senses, although in recent years, due to the pandemic, it has had some difficulties.

“With the use of the mask it was not always easy; for a blind person, removing the sense of smell moves a lot. Those who have sight don’t care, but perceiving smells clearly orients better and makes many things understood “.

Did the Passatore run in 19 hours, many half-marathons and marathons, the next challenges?

“I have a personal 1:36 half marathon, a 3:38 marathon. Now I’d like to do some duathlon races, hoping they’ll get me competing.

And then my dream is to organize a scenic event in the desert. I know sooner or later I’ll get there, I’m used to putting myself forward and never giving up.”



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