Wrestler with Visual Impairment new addition to the West Anchorage High School Team

Feb 03, 2012
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Paul Tandy started off the season with no wrestling knowledge beyond what he had learned from the occasional wrestling watch with his siblings. Despite facing numerous challenges he has learned the basics of the sport posting a season record of 5-14 in the 113-pound weight class.

Tandy’s most recent win came from a second round pin again South Anchorage High School’s Emily Lombard. Lombard admittedly planned to “go easy” on Tandy when preparing for the competition, but quickly changed her mind once the match started, “You can’t even tell he’s blind….he wrestles just like everybody else. He’s really strong” she said.

Tandy, a sophomore at West Anchorage, was born in Taiwan, 3 ½ months premature. His body received too much oxygen at birth, causing his blindness. Steve and Linda Tandy adopted Paul when he was 1; Steve now describes his 15 year old son as a “go-getter,” a mind-set that has benefited Tandy throughout his educational and wrestling career. Tandy, who holds a 4.0 GPA, attends regular classes at West, getting class notes and materials translated to Braille to keep up with the class.

Tandy has wanted to get involved with wrestling for a few years now, but still found himself to be nervous once given the chance to join the team. Though the West coach, Shawn Silverthorn, has coached legally blind wrestlers before, Tandy would be his first fully blind wrestler which resulted in some apprehensions about coaching Tandy.  Silverthorn’s apprehensions left once he saw that Tandy’s addition to the team had become beneficial for all involved. Tandy’s work ethic was a great example to for his teammates to follow, “it’s inspiring. It’s brought our whole team closer together,” Silverthorn said. “Each kid wants to help him”.

After having little success with winning matches early on in the season, Tandy became frustrated and wondered if he would ever experience a win. When he finally broke through during a match against Eagle River High School, Tandy realized what all his hard work had been for. Tandy has made it his goal to win a wrestling state title and with recent examples like 2011 NCAA 125-pound wrestling champion Anthony Robles, a one-legged wrestler from Arizona State, winning a state title is definitely within reach for Tandy.

For full story: http://www.adn.com/2012/01/28/2288854/blind-wrestler-pushes-self-as.html

Author: Tamika Jones



  • BobLujano

     He has a great future ahead of him. He will not be one of the 80% unemployed.