Listen: Elite runner Julius Achon talks to Sheridan Voysey about his tragic childhood and overcoming adversity. Above: Julius Achon, with his father. Photos by Charlie Shoemaker
By Sheridan VoyseyMonday 24 May 2010Open House InterviewsInspirational StoriesReading Time: 1 minute
If you wanted to hear the ultimate story of triumph over adversity, listen in, because the story of Julius Achon could be it. Julius is a world-class middle distance runner. He’s a dual Olympian, he’s the current Ugandan record holder in the 1500 metres event, and one of his proudest moments was to carry his nation’s flag in the Atlanta Olympic Games Opening Ceremony.
But before he reached these heights, Julius had to travel a very long road, marked by much tragedy. At the age of 12, he was kidnapped by rebels and forced to become a child soldier. He has seen many of his friends killed and his village destroyed, and just a week before he was due to compete in the Athens Olympics in 2004, his mother was killed—an innocent victim in Uganda’s ongoing civil war.
Julius now works as a professional pacemaker, and also runs a charity called the Love Mercy Foundation, to bring hope to the orphans and families of his hometown in Uganda.