“A richer life to me means trying to do things better everyday.”

A World Para Athletics Championships 100m and 200m medallist. 

21-year-old Adiaratou’s (or Adi, as she likes to be known) story is a remarkable one. Born in Mali with albinism, a congenital disorder that has caused her to lose her vision almost entirely, Adi fled the country to Spain to escape the negative superstitions surrounding albinism in the country. At the time, various people in Mali believed that albinos caused bad luck, however by carrying the hair or a bone of an albino, it would bring good luck. Being both a woman and an albino put Adi at serious risk of being murdered by albino hunters. 

Upon arrival in Spain, Adi spent time in foster care, before being adopted in 2014 by her now adoptive mother in Lugo, Galicia. It was her adoptive mother who believed that Adi could make her childhood dream of becoming an athlete a reality. 

Adi only has 21% of her vision due to her albinism. The condition also means her eyes have problems focusing. She uses visual reference points on the track to help guide her during races, for example the judges’ stand right before the finish line or the competitor next to her.   

Initially only being allowed to compete at a regional and national level, Adi received her Spanish citizenship in 2018 which enabled her to compete internationally. In June 2019, during the World Para Athletics Grand Prix in Grosseto, she broke a national record for Spain in the T12 category of 100m at 12.42 seconds. At the 2019 Dubai World Para Athletics Championships, Adi was runner-up in the women’s T12 100 metres (setting another record for Spain at 11.99) and 200 metres. Adi hopes to continue her success at the postponed Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

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