Emirati powerlifter Mohammed Khamis Khalaf made an emotional exit from the Tokyo Paralympic Games on Saturday after a recurring shoulder injury put paid to his title defence in the 88kg final.
Bidding for a fourth Paralympic medal, Khalaf was forced to withdraw, holding his left shoulder when attempting to lift 210kg. He suffered an injury during an external training camp in Macedonia a month before Tokyo.
“I am very sad and apologise to the country’s leadership and my people. I couldn’t deliver this time,” Khalaf said. “I thought I had fully recovered from that injury and was surprised that it re-surfaced. I had to withdraw on the advice of the medical team. I am so devastated.”
Khamis, 52, is the most experienced Emirati para athlete and the first to strike gold at a Paralympic Games. He won gold at Athens in 2004, silver at Beijing in 2008, and gold at Rio 2016.
“I will take treatment when I reach Dubai and looking forward to continue with my training and take part in competitions again,” he said. “Of course I will seek medical advice to avoid any complications. I hope this injury isn’t serious.”
Khalaf suffered a similar injury at London 2012 but came back from it to strike gold in Rio.
Jordan’s world record holder Abdelkareem Khattab won the gold from Jixiong Ye of China and Egyptian Hany Abdelhady.
Earlier, Noura Al Ketbi finished sixth in the women’s club throw with an effort of 18.79 metres.
Roza Kozakowska won gold in a world record throw of 28.74. Anastaslia Moskalenko of Ukraine and Mounia Gasmi of Algeria took silver and bronze, respectively.
Moza Al Zeyoudi with a lift of 80kg could finish only ninth from nine participants in the women’s 55kg powerlifting finals.