Blindness poses lots of hurdles for any person, which they try to overcome. One of those struggles is to be able to skateboard. A 19-year-old boy is overcoming this hurdle like a ‘champ’.
Taking a deep breath Ryusei Ouchi uses his cane to feel out the edge of the three-meter-high ramp, shuffles to the edge and then drops in. Like any other skateboarder, the rush of air, the thrill of the ride, the sense of accomplishment in finishing a trick is what drew Ryusei to the sport. However, there is only one difference Ouchi is almost completely blind.
Story of Ouchi
Ouchi was born with perfectly normal vision. However, at the age of seven, he was diagnosed with an eye condition, his sight has deteriorated to the point where he needs a cane to navigate and feel his local skate-park in Tokorozawa, north of Tokyo.
He has earned a sizeable amount of followers on social media by performing tricks such as dropping in off large ramps, riding rails and even performing handstand tricks. Ouchi has impressed the local skateboarding community with his dedication to the sport. He is well acquainted with the dangers and says it comes with the territory.
“If I’m skateboarding I don’t know how safe I can be, but that’s life”, Ouchi said last week. He loves skateboarding regardless of the risks and wants to do it.
“In my second year of high school, my eyesight got really bad, and all of a sudden the disease was progressing at a faster rate and I started panicking a little”, he said.
Skateboarding with his friends is a way of expressing himself and that’s why he heads for the skate park several times a week. It was a difficult task for him and took him a while but eventually, he became fully accustomed to the layout. Now he has a good mental picture of his surroundings, liberating him up to perform more tricks.
Skateboarding as a sport will make a debut at next year’s Tokyo Olympics. However, it is not going to happen at the Paralympics. Ouchi wishes that one day it might happen.
He wants Society to be more Understanding
“Many people tell me that they can’t believe I skateboard being blind. I get this often,” he said.
He added that it is not yet common for blind people to skateboard, at least in the minds of the general public. “If it becomes a Paralympic sport, I think people will go, ‘Huh?’ and want to check it out”.
For now, Ouchi is delighted to serve as a source of inspiration for others through his social media channels.
He expressed that even if he is a blind skateboarder, he wants to skateboard whenever he can. So that he can feel that sense of pride within him and spread the story.
“As a member of the visually impaired community, aside from skateboarding, there are many struggles”.
“I want society to be more understanding.”
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