Mohammed Khalaf: Paralympic hero

Gold medalist Mohammed Khalaf poses with his medal. Sergio Moraes / Reuters
Gold medalist Mohammed Khalaf poses with his medal. Sergio Moraes / Reuters

The UAE have taken home gold after Emirati powerlifter Mohammed Khalaf won the under-88kg event at the Paralympics. As Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, tweeted after Khalaf won: “His determination and spirit inspires us all.”

This is all the more incredible given Khalaf’s early childhood spent mostly out of view because of his polio. Only after moving to Abu Dhabi at the age of 10 did he go through rehabilitation and ultimately concluded his university education. Khalaf experimented with other sports before focusing on powerlifting in 1995. It was a fitting choice since he captured the UAE’s first Paralympic gold medal in the 2004 games in Athens.

His persistence to overcome challenges highlights the essence of the Olympic and Paralympic spirit. Along with Abdullah Sultan Al Aryani, who has won three silver medals in shooting, Khalaf has given all of us a profound sense of pride.

Published: September 14, 2016 04:00 AM

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