Huhta continues to strive for goal of Paralympics

Huhta continues to strive for goal of Paralympics

Huhta continues to strive for goal of Paralympics

Lifelong Battle Mountain resident Devin Huhta has one goal in mind for the future and that is to qualify for the Paralympics.

Currently, Huhta is one of the top shot put throwers in the world in his F12 class. Huhta is sixth in the world and No. 1 in the United States. 

Huhta is legally blind, with less than 10% vision. He also throws the discus, but the F12 class doesn’t have a discus competition. 

He is only 10 meters off the world record for the discus in his class.

“I really don’t train that much on discus, I focus on shot put more,” Huhta said. “In 2020 they were not doing discus and last year was a kind of a repeat of Covid from the year before, they weren’t doing discus, so I focused everything on throwing the shot put.”

Huhta broke the US record three times in the shot put last summer, with the 16-pound shot. His numbers keep on climbing, as he set a personal best at over 47 feet in a meet just this past weekend.

At 10% vision, Huhta says he can still set himself up without much trouble to throw the shot put.

“I am not totally blind and have some functional vision left,” he said. “It’s like looking through straws. There are like islands and I can wave my hand in front of my face and I will not see it at times. At night, I look up to see the stars and I don’t see any of them anymore.”

Huhta gave up his driver’s license in 2016 and had to give up his job he had at the mine. He added it all worked out and now he gets to spend much of his time training and spending it with his kids.

Shortly afterward in 2016, Huhta began his training, but had setback when he blew out his L4 disk in his back. 

“I never had surgery or anything,” Huhta said. “I stopped lifting weights and sat around for about 6 months and got better to where I could get back to the gym. In December of 2018 it got to the point of where I couldn’t sit or stand for 10 minutes at a time. It was pretty agonizing. I would take three pills in the morning and three more at night.”

Without surgeries and not lifting weights, Huhta said he discovered DDP Yoga and he said he got the feeling back in his leg. Doctors told him that surgeries were only 50% successful. Huhta stuck with the yoga.

DDP stands for Diamond Dallas Page, a former pro-wrestler turned fitness guru. Page’s interest in yoga began when he injured his back in the ring and went looking for ways to rehabilitate himself. He was amazed at how quickly he began to see improved flexibility and strength when he practiced yoga.

He began to combine yoga with therapeutic exercises for his back and, as his condition improved, added in slow-motion workout moves like crunches and push-ups. When he wore a heart rate monitor during yoga, he noticed that he could make his heart rate go up significantly when he strongly engaged his muscles. This was the origin of the technique that sets DDP Yoga apart.

 “I stumbled upon the yoga when I went to the gym with my wife,” Huhta said. “I am 242-pound man and I can damn near do the splits. Being 37 years old, time is kind of against me.”  

Huhta said the frustrations of training builds at times and he steps away for a couple weeks at a time and then comes back.

Huhta still holds the Battle Mountain High School shot put and discus records.

He will be headed to Phoenix, Ariz., May 17-19 for the High Desert Challenge. 

The ultimate goal is reaching the 2024 Paralympics and the World Championships will be this summer in Japan. 

I am still learning this school of hard knocks,” Huhta said. “We showed up and thought when we went to the Desert Challenge games last summer that we did well there we would we able to be put on Team USA and go to Tokyo. It didn’t work out that way and apparently, they already had the teams selected from 2019. The crappy thing was they didn’t even have a F12 shot putter. It kind of tales the wind out of the sails. The goal is now to get there for 2024 in the F12 class.”