Bay Shore native competing for paratriathlon title after pandemic inspired sport switch

Robert Rodriguez, of Bay Shore, is pumped for the opportunity. And it's quite a feat because he only started training as a paratriathlete eight months ago.

News 12 Staff

Jul 15, 2021, 5:02 PM

Updated 1,007 days ago

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A Long Island native will be representing New York at the USA Paratriathlon National Championship in California on Sunday -- and he defied the odds to get there.
Robert Rodriguez, of Bay Shore, is pumped for the opportunity. And it's quite a feat because he only started training as a paratriathlete eight months ago.
Rodriguez has been on the USA Amputee Soccer team for years, but the pandemic prompted him to switch gears.
"We weren't able to get together as a team. It was tough to be around people as we all experienced within the last year. But triathlon, you're kind of doing it on your own," says Rodriguez.
Born with a birth defect that left his right leg deformed, Rodriguez says his mother made the difficult but necessary decision to have doctors amputate his right leg below the knee at just 10 months old.
Rodriguez says he was bullied in school due to his disability, but the discipline of sports and strength of his mother and aunt helped him stand tall.
"As women raising a young man with a disability, I know it wasn't easy for them. They did it with action and execution and that's what I plan to do at the triathlon," he said.
In Sunday's triathlon, Rodriguez will do a 750-meter swim, a 12-mile bike ride and a 5K run. He's hoping to inspire people along the way.
"The message I want to send out to others is that you can do it, and be anything that you like, and although it might seem like a mountain, if you perceive it as a mole hill, that you can get over it," he says. "And sometimes it might take time, but if you're consistent and you work hard you can get there."


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