Paralysed teen wheels in 6km at Dubai Run

Photo by Shihab/Khaleej Times
Photo by Shihab/Khaleej Times

Dubai - The youngster managed to run 6km non-stop in 30 minutes on his wheelchair that he powered by physically using his arms.

By Saman Haziq

Published: Fri 27 Nov 2020, 10:03 PM

Last updated: Sat 28 Nov 2020, 7:23 AM

Thirteen-year-old Rakan Rafat Alomari was paralysed waist down after a wall collapsed on him this January, but what hasn’t changed is his smile and resilience to shine. The teen, who is wheelchair-bound, was one of the first few to reach Kites Beach at around 5am to take part in the Dubai Run.

The Jordanian national was accompanied by his 18-year-old sister Rahaf as they ran along the beach with 70 other runners of a community club, 5.30am Run. The youngster managed to run 6km non-stop in 30 minutes on his wheelchair that he powered by physically using his arms.

“The challenge really brought out the best in all as we saw people pushing their limits and setting new personal records and this is exactly what I saw Rakan do. He had never covered over 5km at a stretch earlier,” said Rahaf.

Rakan has always been an energetic boy and always actively participated in skating, basketball among other sports until the accident.

Rakan got into running despite being on a wheelchair, thanks to the motivation, opportunities and encouraging sports events that give equal opportunity to people of determination in Dubai. Apart from running, Rakan also does yoga and also accompanies his siblings for their swimming lessons.

“This challenge really pushed me more into fitness and improved my stamina and showed me the scope where I can improve. In the beginning, I was shy of being around the runners due to my disability as I thought I wouldn’t be accepted by people. But the way the sports communities embraced me has helped me work harder and I am hopeful that one day I will run on my feet,” said Rakan.

‘Fitness helped me gain recognition ‘

After 14 surgeries and being bed-ridden for a year and now recovering from the deadly Covid-19, Emirati national Amal Ahmad rose like Phoenix and set her sights on becoming a role model for people of determination.

The 39-year-old was a victim of a medical error that paralysed the sciatic nerves of both her legs. “Doctors told me that I will not be able to walk ever again and that I have to spend my life in a wheelchair. But I fought back and by upping my fitness levels and after using a wheelchair for almost six years, I am now back on my feet and can walk with the support of crutches. I cannot thank God enough for this.”

Amal, who is now a social media influencer and a life coach, is one of the ambassadors of the Dubai Fitness Challenge (DFC).

“Fervent prayers and investing time on upping my fitness levels has given me a new lease of life. I realised that I needed to accept my circumstances and only then I could move ahead. Once I got rid of my wheelchair, I decided to serve people and began volunteering in different parts of the world. This made me realise how blessed I was to have a good life and that there are so many people in much worse circumstances.”

A sports enthusiast Amal bikes, swims, plays tennis and tries her hand at every possible sport as she believes nothing is impossible if one puts one’s heart and soul to it.

A representative of the Dubai Club for People of Determination, Amal said that although she cannot run and finds it a bit difficult to walk a long distance, she walked for around 300 metres at the Dubai Run just to motivate people to take care of themselves and give health priority.

“My message to people is that life is about creating yourself and working hard to fulfil your dreams. Do not give up hope and do not take your health for granted. Try and join some sort of fitness activity as that will definitely bring you happiness and will also challenge you and help you realise your potential.”

Photo: Shihab/KT
Photo: Shihab/KT
Photo: Shihab/KT
Photo: Shihab/KT
Photo: Shihab/KT
Photo: Shihab/KT

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