Florida [US], November 11 (ANI): Chris Nikic, a man from Florida, became the first athlete with Down syndrome to complete the Ironman triathlon on Saturday (local time) at the Florida Panhandle event. Not only this, his efforts have earned him a place in the Guinness World Records.
"It's official! Florida athlete @ChrisNikic is an IRONMAN," The Special Olympics announced the news on Twitter.
According to Fox News, Nikic and his guide Dan Grieb crossed the finish line of Ironman Florida on November 7 in Panama City Beach, Florida.
As per the organisation's report to Fox News, the triathlon had a time limit of 17-hour, consisted of a 2.4-mile swim, 122 miles on a bicycle, and a marathon-length run, to be completed within the time limit. Nikic crossed the finish line after 16 hours, 46 minutes and 9 seconds, according to Guinness World Records.
"A year ago I wrote 'Chris World Champ'. Anything is Possible," wrote Nikic on Twitter, who has undergone two heart surgeries and multiple ear canal reconstructions.
The 21-year-old, who made history at the Florida Panhandle event, is hoping to qualify for the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games in Orlando, Florida.
According to Fox News, Sherry Wheelock, the president and CEO of Florida's Special Olympics organisation said, "Special Olympics Florida is incredibly proud of Chris Nikic and the work he's put in over the last few years to achieve this monumental goal. Chris has become a hero to many athletes, fans, and individuals across Florida and around the country. He is an inspiration to us all, and we couldn't be prouder of his remarkable accomplishments."
"From the time he was born, we were told by everyone that he'd never do anything or amount to anything or be able to accomplish anything [beyond] being able to tie his own shoes, and we believed them for the longest time." Nikic's father said in an interview, after his son's achievement. (ANI)