Emirati Paralympic athletes are going over their final preparatory drills before they go head to head with 479 athletes from 49 countries, who will all be competing for podium positions at the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports (IWAS) World Games 2019, here in Sharjah. The games have come back to the emirate after 2011 and will run its course from Feb 10-16 at selected locations.
The eighth edition of the world championship is being held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah. The headcount of the UAE sports delegation for IWAS World Games, Sharjah 2019, is 111 and includes 76 athletes. These athletes will represent the nation in all seven categories of sports featuring in the championship – archery, swimming, shooting, athletics, badminton, table tennis and wheelchair fencing.
Paralympic champion, Mohamed Al Qayed, who scooped silver and bronze medals at the 2012 London Paralympic Games, and a gold medal at the Paralympic Games in Rio in 2016, stated that he is in top form. Qayed’s been training at a camp in Thailand, and aspires to break his ‘four gold’ personal record at Sharjah’s debut edition of IWAS World Games.
UAE shooter, Abdullah Al Aryani, is a London 2012 Paralympic Games’ gold medalist, and silver medal-holder at 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio, highlighted the readiness of local athletes to achieve stellar results that will raise the UAE flag in international sporting venues.
Shot put F32 silver medalist, Noura Al Ketbi, the first female Arab medal winner in Paralympic games, said she has been preparing for this event in Sharjah and considers it an important stepping stone for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. She is eager to gain experience from participating international athletes.
Sarah Al Sinani, bronze medalist at Rio 2016, went on an intensive training programme too. She is eager to compete in shot put and archery categories, to bring the UAE sporting glory in both.
Dr. Tariq Sultan bin Khadem, Vice-Chairman of the Higher Organising Committee of IWAS World Games Sharjah 2019 and Chairman of the Executive Committee; Vice-Chairman of the UAE Disabled Sports Federation, noted that the great achievements of sportsmen and women with a physical disability is a testament to the unwavering support of the country’s leadership for this segment of society. He stressed the importance of their achievements in boosting the UAE sports feats in the past, present and future.
Theban Salem Almuhairi, UAE Disabled Sports Federation Secretary-General, has praised UAE athletes and their eagerness and readiness to achieve titles. He noted that UAE athletes are a mix of rising stars and accomplished sportspersons, and their participation in the international sporting event that will see athletes from 55 countries, is an ideal platform to gain experience, showcase UAE athleticism, and an important stepping stone for UAE athletes on their way for Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.