x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Paralympics: UAE double medal winner 'aiming for the sky' at 2016

With a silver and bronze medals in tow, wheelchair Paralympian Mohammed Hammadi says he will work to strike gold at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Winning a silver and bronze at the 2012 London Paralympic Games has Mohamed Hammadi, right, wanting more.
Winning a silver and bronze at the 2012 London Paralympic Games has Mohamed Hammadi, right, wanting more.

Double Paralympic medal winner Mohammed Hammadi has already set his sights on gold at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro and he will start training for Brazil as soon as he arrives back in the UAE.

The Emirati won bronze in the 100 metre wheelchair T34 in London on Saturday to add to his silver in the 200m race.

"Now I have the experience and next time I not only want to win gold but establish new marks, inshallah," Hammadi said.

His third place in the 100m, when he finished behind Walid Kitla of Tunisia and Rheed McCracken of Australia, means he is the first Emirati to win two medals at the same Olympics or Paralympics.

And he has been thrilled by the experience.

"There is no harm in aiming for the sky," Hammadi said. "Everyone at the Games has come with dreams and lofty ambitions of winning medals and to establish records.

"I may have been among the hundreds of athletes in the Games to have had the ambitions of winning medals. It was my first Paralympics and I was thrilled at just being there at the Olympic Stadium. It has been an exhilarating experience for me.

"The atmosphere in the stadium was terrific, the crowds that packed the stadium had been awesome, and the fellow athletes have been fantastic and gracious, both in victory and defeat.

"For me, it was an experience in a lifetime. This whole experience has given me the motivation and confidence to think of preparing for the next Games as soon as I return home."

Hammadi's next appearance in a major competition will be the 2014 World Championship in France.

"But there will be several other competitions, both regional and international, for me to keep in good shape ahead of the major championships," he said.

"Up to now, my focus had been preparing for the London Games. I think I have fulfilled my task with a couple of medal winning performances, of course from the opportunity provided to me.

"I am very thankful for the Rulers, the federation, all those who gave me a hand in either training or encouragement, and to all my fellow teammates for being behind me to provide me the confidence and motivation at the Games."

apassela@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE