Adonis Walks 30km to Attend Special Olympics Training!

Four young men preparing to race down a track.
Adonis (left) training for Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, where he competed in the 200m and 400m sprints.

Adonis Lutumba Nyemba was born in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo on 27 April 1996. Adonis was a healthy child until the age of three. While his father was carrying his first-born son in his arms, the child suddenly started convulsing; his parents rushed Adonis to Ngaliema Clinic. He was hospitalized for two months while they tried to discover the cause of his illness. Without answers for his parents, Adonis returned home, but he had changed. He no longer responded to questions, and his limbs were in constant spasm.

When his parents divorced, his father could no longer care for him and sent him to his grandfather. Adonis was isolated and not treated as one of the members of the family, despite being the eldest of his siblings. Much later, a mother in the district informed his family about a place for children with lower intelligence quotients than were accepted in mainstream schools. This was the first time his family had received any advice or guidance from a member of their community about how to properly support him. They immediately applied to Bondeko Village, a specialized school where Adonis attended physiotherapy and speech therapy sessions.

When he was recruited by Special Olympics Democratic Republic of the Congo, a newly established Special Olympics Program, he attended trainings at the Martyrs Stadium in the Kintambo Velodrome district. The organizers did not know that Adonis, a competitive sprinter, was walking 15 kilometers on foot to attend the event—a 30-kilometer round-trip!

His hard work paid off! At the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, he won the gold medal in the 400m sprint. Unfortunately, his family was not there to cheer for him.

Adonis and his coach traveled home to meet his family and update them on Adonis’ progress. They wanted to tell his father that Adonis traveled abroad to represent his country. With his father and family surprised and grateful to Special Olympics for realizing the capabilities of their son, the future looks brighter for Adonis.

Today, Adonis thrives at the school, where he likes to play with his best friend and debate in class. Though he once struggled to communicate, he is now a clear and enthusiastic speaker in his group. He also receives professional training in the art of bookbinding.

His family hopes Adonis will go far!

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