Lester Fernández, the Cuban cyclist who challenges the limits of disability

MIAMI, United States. – Lester Fernández, a Cuban cyclist with 81 percent physical disability, is preparing to participate in the prestigious Titan Desert Morocco race, according to said in an interview with Cuban newspaper. With the aim of inspiring others, the Cuban athlete built his own prosthesis, since there is no model on the market that meets his needs.

“I want to show that people with physical disabilities can also have physical challenges, that they don’t have to stay on the couch. The house is not the solution; you have to move, she said to Cuban newspaper.

Through his Happy Wheels project, the athlete seeks to promote the movement of disabled people and create a supportive community.

Between 2015 and 2020, Fernández faced various challenges that affected his mobility, including a stroke, an unassimilated surgery and a hit-and-run that radically changed his life. Despite this, he continues to fight and adapt to his situation: “I am forced to use a wheelchair; I don’t like it, I don’t adapt, I have a thousand methods to maneuver with it. People are surprised at the way I keep coming up with shapes,” she says.

On his way to the Titan Desert Morocco, Fernández has worked with Rafa Nadal from Healthsystem, a physiotherapist who has helped him regain the confidence he needed to walk a bit. In addition, he practices water polo at the Barcelona Swimming Club and performs various therapies at home to improve his physical condition.

The Cuban competes on an ordinary bicycle, but he himself has created “the invention”, an adaptation that allows him to pedal. “For my cause they do not manufacture the type of prosthesis that I need. I hope to find someone who wants to join my bandwagon and make me a proper prosthesis, ”he says.

Fernández highlights the importance of listening to family and friends in the process of adaptation to the disability: “The first thing you have to do is listen, I didn’t do it, I was in my closed world of ‘me’ and that’s the worst . They see your change, let them help you”.

With ambitious plans such as cycling from Denmark to Barcelona and completing the Camino de Santiago, the Cuban athlete seeks to demonstrate that people with disabilities can lead an active life. In addition, he admires other athletes from the Island such as Arlenis Sierra and highlights the importance of their success abroad for the advancement of sports in Cuba.

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