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Down Syndrome competitor to make Dakar Rally history

Lima, Thursday @PeopleSports11

Lucas Barron will make history on Sunday when he lines up on the Dakar 2019 starting line in Peru, becoming the first person with Down Syndrome to take part in the gruelling race.

The 25-year-old, who will be co-pilot for his father Jacques, will tackle the world’s most demanding rally: a 5,000 kilometer (3,000 mile), 10-day marathon, 70 per cent of which will be raced over sand.

“Our aim is to finish the race and achieve our goal,” a beaming Barron told AFP. He added: “This race is brilliant for me. It will be easy because we know the route.” Barron, who has been training for a year-and-a-half alongside his father, will ride on one of 500 vehicles taking part in the race.

He will compete in the UTV category for off-road four-wheel drive buggies, a class that was added for the first time in 2017.

Born in Lima, Barron has always been a keen sportsman despite his disability, taking part in swimming, football, cycling, surfing and water-skiing. He says he’s “ready and able to overcome the desert dunes.”

A fan of both rock and hip-hop music, Barron says he will provide important mechanical assistance to his father. “I’m going to help him look at the engine, the road and the tyres,” said Barron.

He is familiar with the Peruvian terrain that will host the entirety of the Dakar rally this year after Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Bolivia declined the opportunity due to austerity measures.   -AFP

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