Warm welcome home for UAE Paralympians

Warm welcome home for UAE Paralympians
The UAE Paralympics contingent were accorded a warm welcome when they arrived at Dubai International Airport

Dubai - Five UAE Paralympians won seven medals at the Rio Games

By Mustafa Al Zarooni

Published: Mon 19 Sep 2016, 6:54 PM

Last updated: Mon 19 Sep 2016, 10:36 PM

The UAE Paralympics contingent were accorded a warm welcome when they arrived at Dubai International Airport, early hours on Monday.
Bouquets and garlands were presented to the 18-member squad which bagged seven medals at the Rio Paralympics from September 5-18.
Five UAE Paralympians brought home seven medals - two golds, four silvers and a bronze, three more than the 2004 effort to make it the biggest medal haul for the nation in the Games history.
Powerlifter Mohamed Khamis Khalaf and T34 wheelchair sprinter Mohamed Hammadi won gold medals for the country while shooter Abdulla Sultan Alryani won three silver medals.
Sara Al Senaani became the first UAE woman Paralympian to win a medal when she claimed bronze in the women's shot put in T33 classification shot put event.
Noura Al Ktebi's then became the second UAE woman to clinch a medal when she won a silver in the women's T32 shot put event.
After receiving a hero's welcome in Dubai, Sara Al Senaani told Khaleej Times that her Rio medal was one of the most beautiful moments in her life. 
"I will now look forward to winning a higher medal in four years' time when the Tokyo Paralympics arrives," she said. 
"I have worked hard for five years continuously to see this dream come true."
The 23-year-old, added: "When I joined the sports club for the disabled with the hope to continue in sports I never realised that one day I would be standing side by side with international athletes in a Paralympics."
Sara who trains in Abu Dhabi is a Jazira University second year under grad student and said regular exposure in events abroad helped her gain the experience to survive on the new platform which she has been elevated to.
"We are lucky to be provided with experienced and qualified coaches from abroad and here. A special mention must be paid to our wise leaders who has allocated the funds and provided the guidelines for our teams participation abroad and for the coaching aspects," she continued.
Tariq bin Khadim, chairman, Al Thiqah Club for Handicapped, said: "Emirati champion Mohammed Al Hammadi (men's T34-800m gold medallist) occupies a special position in our community. After this achievement, the UAE tops the list in the GCC and is fourth among Arab states and 36th worldwide."
"Hammadi's sport is expensive, amounting close to Dh450,000 for the equipment. Added costs will be the expertise and time from high performance coaches and support staff which keeps going higher by the day," he said.
Officials of the UAE para sports clubs and the Dubai Immigration staff were on hand to welcome the side.

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