Al Hammadi reveals battle with grief during World Para Athletics Championships

Emirati won four medals in London while struggling to come to terms with the death of Abdullah Hayayei.

Great Britain's Isaac Towers with his bronze medal (right) with Tunisia's Walid Ktila (centre) and United Arab Emirates' Mohamed Alhammadi after the Men's 800m T34 Final during day eight of the 2017 World Para Athletics Championships at London Stadium. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday July 21, 2017. See PA story ATHLETICS Para. Photo credit should read: Simon Cooper/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No transmission of sound or moving images and no video simulation.
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Men’s wheelchair 200m T34: 1. Walid Ktila (TUN) 27.14; 2. Mohammed Al Hammadi (UAE) 27.81; 3. Rheed McCracken (AUS) 27.81.

Mohammed Al Hammadi said he had to battle through grief and emotions to bring home four medals from the World Para Athletics Championships in London.

The Emirati took second place in the wheelchair 200-metre T34 category behind Tunisian Walid Ktila on Friday to round off his four events with three silvers and a bronze in the championships.

"It was a hard two weeks for us after the tragedy that struck in our camp two days before the start of the championships," said Al Hammadi, referring to the death of teammate Abdullah Hayayei in a training incident.

“It affected everyone in the team. We still haven’t got over it, and perhaps, it will take a long time for it to happen.

“We decided all medals we win in this championship will be presented to brother Abdullah’s children, and that’s what we want to do on our return home.”

Al Hammadi's four medals were the only ones the 15-member UAE squad won in the championships that began on July 14 and conclude on Sunday.

Medals were expected of Al Hammadi, who won a gold at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and a silver and bronze in the 2012 London Paralympics Games.

In-between, he collected medals at three successive World Championships - two golds and a silver at 2011 Christchurch, silver at 2013 Lyon and three silvers and a bronze at 2015 Doha.

Ktila rounded off his victories in the 100m, 400m and 800m before powering out of the blocks to win the 200m in a new championship record time of 27.14 seconds.

Al Hammadi was gracious in defeat and said he will focus his attentions on preparing for the 2019 World Championships and the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.

“Walid was really outstanding in repeating his feat of 2015,” Al Hammadi said.

“I had a similar finish behind him on that occasion but I’m fairly satisfied with the results. My goal is to prepare for the next World Championships in two years and the 2020 Paralympics Tokyo.”

The World Para Athletics Championships in London drew 1,150 athletes from 90 countries vying for 202 medal events.

With two days to go, China leads the medals table with 22 golds, 16 silvers and 16 bronzes, followed by the USA 15-15-12, Great Britain 14-3-13, Ukraine 11-3-7 and Tunisia 10-6-6.


Men’s wheelchair 200m T34: 1. Walid Ktila (TUN) 27.14; 2. Mohammed Al Hammadi (UAE) 27.81; 3. Rheed McCracken (AUS) 27.81.