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Smiling Sara eager to conquer the world

James Jose/Dubai
Filed on February 4, 2020
UAE'S FUTURE STARS: Para athletes Sara Abdullah (left) and Mayed Ali Mohammed in Dubai on Tuesday. - Photo by James Jose

The Emirati will be the youngest para athlete to compete at the Al Ain 2020 World Shooting Para Sport World Cup next month

She's got such an infectious smile, a smile that says all is well in her world. Sara Abdullah may have been born with severe impediment to her limbs but that hasn't stopped the Emirati from chasing her dream. She had dabbled in badminton, taekwondo and shooting so far. Sport, for Sara, is not just about winning or losing, it is about making her feel confident and make her love herself, the way she is.

The bigger goal, eventually is to represent the UAE at the highest level and make the country proud. Sara, all of 13, will be the youngest para athlete to compete at the Al Ain 2020 World Shooting Para Sport World Cup next month.

The competition is set to take place at the Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting and Golf Club in the Garden City from March 13 to 15.

And Sara can't hold back her excitement.

"I'm so excited to be taking part as shooting is my favourite sport," Sara told the Khaleej Times in a chat, on the sidelines of the Asian Paralympic Committee signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), on Tuesday.

"It makes me more confident in myself whenever I compete. It increases my focus, my skills," she added.

Sara, who trains at the Dubai Club for People of Determination in Al Quasis, revealed that sport has been a life-changing experience for her.

"It has changed a lot in me. Like now, I'm not scared to meet people. I love meeting people and have real friends. But, before, I was scared. What if people don't like me. But now, I'm confident and I love myself and I will always keep going," said Sara, who took first place in a taekwondo event between the UAE and Korea in Dubai last year.

Sara has taken life as it comes and is grateful of her supportive parents.

"My mom, she makes a lot of difference. She is always the one who supports me, even my father. And the club is always supportive," she said.

"My mom always told me that you have to be happy the way you are. At least I can talk, I can see. Some people, they can't. And I always thank God for this," said Sara, who dreams of working in the media some day.

"I want to interview people," the bubbly Sarah, giggled and said.

Before that though, Sara wants to show that the UAE is the best.

"I play sport to show everyone that the UAE is the best and it is my country," said the Grade 8 student of Dubai Modern Education School.

Meanwhile, para athlete Mayed Ali Mohammed, dreams of emulating compatriot and Rio Olympics gold medallist Mohamed Al Hammadi.

"My dream is to win gold medals for my country and become a world champion one day," said the 15-year-old Mayed, who has won one silver and two bronze medals in the T34 category, the same category as Al Hammadi.

Al Hammadi had won gold in the 800m T34 category at the Rio Paralympics in 2016, had a timing of 15.93 seconds.

He had won a silver and a bronze at the London Paralympics in 2012, in the 200m T34 and 100m T34 respectively.

james@khaleejtimes.com



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