x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Paralympics: Thuraya Al Zaabi has sights on the medal round in London

The UAE paralympiani is aiming to repeat her successes in the 2010 Asian Games but first is targeting reaching the medal rounds at London 2012.

Thuraya Al Zaabi, pictured here at the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, in December 2010, is aiming for the medal round at the London 2012 Games.
Thuraya Al Zaabi, pictured here at the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, in December 2010, is aiming for the medal round at the London 2012 Games.

The most experienced female athlete in the UAE's 15-strong Paralympic squad is hoping to end the country's medal drought when she goes into action for the first time on Monday at the London Games.

Thuraya Al Zaabi, 42, says she feels in "good shape and good heart" to reach the medal rounds in the javelin F33/34/52/53 category.

"We had the best training camp ahead of a competition and I feel I am on top of my game to reach the medal round," Al Zaabi said.

"I think our athletes have done pretty well so far even though they have not been able to reach the medal rounds.

"The competition here is very tough and the athletes have really raised the bar in London."

Al Zaabi was an active sportswoman until she suffered a stroke at the age of 29 which left her paralysed down one side.

She was a basketball player and cyclist, and is now confined to a wheelchair.

Al Zaabi was the first female Emirati athlete to participate in the Paralympic Games when she took part in the 2008 event in Beijing.

She won gold medals in javelin and discus throw at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, and has been training regularly at the Al Thiqah Club for the Handicapped in Sharjah to prepare for the London Games.

"We arrived in London almost a month before the competition and it has helped all of us to acclimatise and adapt," Al Zaabi said.

"We feel we have worked very hard to win a few medals yet it seems we haven't done enough to reach the medal rounds.

"We are still hopeful with a few more events left [that we can] return home with something."

The other Emiratis in action are Mohammed Vahdani in the T54 men's 1500m and Mohammed Bani Hashem in the T54 100m.

apassela@thenational.ae

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