Two brothers from Edmonton will compete together in the eighth World Midget Games to be held in Cologne, Germany this month.
Nineteen-year-old twins Brandon and Jared Vanderlinden are representing Alberta at the event for the first time. They were born with achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism.
“It’s an honor and it makes me feel part of the world,” Brandon told CBC. Edmonton AM. “I have to do something very special.”
He said he wanted to be a part of the games to be close to other people who have dwarfism like him.
Growing up, they were bullied and often unable to participate in many group activities.
“We’re proving those haters wrong,” Brandon said. “It shows that we can do anything even though we are little people.”
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The two, also known as the Dwarf Duo, will compete in basketball, soccer, and table tennis. For them, games are a chance to be part of a team.
Jared said that participating in the games is very rewarding.
“We really can’t do these things often, and I think it’s going to be a big part of our lives,” he said.
With their two older brothers, filmmakers Joshua and Benjamin Vanderlinden, co-founders of video production company Story First, the twins are producing a documentary to look back on their time in games.
Joshua said in an email that he and Benjamin are in a unique position to tell the story of their younger brothers.
“We’ve seen them go through struggles that we didn’t have to experience,” he said. “But seeing how the opportunity to be a part of Team Canada motivated them and gave them purpose made us want to share that with the world.”
The World Dwarf Games is the largest sporting event for athletes with dwarfism where, every four years, more than 500 athletes from over 20 countries come together to compete and promote dwarfism awareness in a supportive environment.
The last event took place in 2017 before being postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fifty Canadians are participating in this year’s event. Joshua said that the twins are the only ones that represent Alberta.
Athletes at the World Dwarf Games will compete in a variety of sports including basketball, archery, weightlifting, and volleyball.
Joshua said the twins practice their basketball skills every week against people much taller than them.
“Maybe they don’t talk about it themselves, but they drop three points pretty often,” he said.
The games will take place from July 28 to August 5.