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A new rule imposed on visually impaired triathletes is creating controversy as athletes get ready to compete in this weekend’s Nautica New York City Triathlon.
Aaron Scheidies has won four triathlon world titles, but his primary goal for the New York City Triathlon on Sunday is simply to finish without crashing.
Scheidies, 27, is partly blind, with 20/500 vision. He competes alongside a sighted guide, and he relies heavily on his partial vision to navigate the racecourse.
“It’s enough to tell if something is right in front of me,” Scheidies said.
Because of a new rule imposed by the International Triathlon Union, Scheidies must surrender his partial vision for Sunday’s race. The rule requires all visually impaired elite triathletes to wear blackout glasses during the race’s running portion. Officials believe the rule will level the playing field among the blind, and lead to triathlon’s inclusion at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.