x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Mohammed Hammadi's focus is final in London

Emirati is focusing on his final event at the London 2012 Paralympic Games but admits he is already thinking about 2016 Rio.

Mohammed Hammadi, in the middle, trains with Mohammed Vahdani, front, and Mohammed bani Hashem for the 100m T34 sprint.
Mohammed Hammadi, in the middle, trains with Mohammed Vahdani, front, and Mohammed bani Hashem for the 100m T34 sprint.

 

Success does wondrous things to people. Having won silver in the 200m wheelchair T34 category, Mohammed Hammadi says the sky is the limit for him.

Hammadi, 27, will be the sole competitor for the UAE in Saturday's final day of the London Paralympic Games when he competes in the wheelchair 100m T34 dash.

And he not only wants to win a gold medal to round off his country's campaign in London but is already looking beyond to the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

"Winning my first Paralympic medal has given me the confidence and motivated me like never before," he said.

"This is my passion now, and I am already planning for the 2016 Games. I not only want to win there but want have the world record next to my name, God willing."

Hammadi broke the Paralympic record in his 200m heat but Walid Kitla of Tunisia ran a faster time in the next heat and, later, won gold. Hammadi recorded a season best 28.95 seconds in his silver-medal effort and thinks he can go one better over the shorter distance Saturday night.

"I had a good three-day break from the last competition to prepare for the next event," he said.

"I feel great and ready for a better performance. I hope I can round off the UAE's campaign with gold."

Hammadi will meet some of the same rivals, including Kitla, in the 100m but said he can finish first if he can avoid the slow start that he made in the 200m.

Hammadi was an active child in Sharjah before a bout of polio left his legs paralysed.

He began training seven years ago, first as recreation but more seriously after he showed top athletic potential.

One of 11 children in his family, Hammadi says he is proud to be an ambassador for his country and is committed to raising the country's profile wherever he travels.

His teammate Mohammed bani Hashem failed to make it to the final eight Friday in the 200m wheelchair T53 category. Bani Hashem had a season-best time of 28.39 seconds, but was sixth in his heat.

On Thursday, Siham Al Rasheedy was 10th from a field of 18 in the women's javelin F57/58. Ming Liu of China won the gold.

Thuraya Al Zaabi failed to make the cut in the women's shot put F32/33/34, which was won by Birgit Kober of Germany in a world-record throw of 10.25 metres.

apassela@thenational.ae

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