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Posted On: 14 April 2021 05:00 pm
Updated On: 15 April 2021 09:52 am

Ahmed Al-Shahrani: the first para-athlete to cross Qatar

Nabeela
Nabeela
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Ahmed Al-Shahrani: the first para-athlete to cross Qatar

Ahmed Al-Shahrani has worn many hats over the 30 some years he's lived. But over the last four years, he's been focused and dedicated to improving himself via sports. He's taken part in marathons in Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Jordan. He also plays other sports such as wheelchair fencing, aquathlons (swimming and running) and shooting. He's the first para-athlete to cross Qatar East to West 90 km and North to South 200 km.

What is your educational qualification? What have your work experiences been?

I completed my secondary education and two years of university. Over the past decade, I’ve worked in the private sector, disability field and help grow our family business.

How do you feel about being the first and the fastest para-athlete to cross Qatar from the east to the west?

I feel a sense of accomplishment. I’m proud I stuck around, never threw the towel in, never gave up. I trained hard and long. I trained early mornings and late nights. I trained in ideal conditions and less than ideal conditions. In calm winds and in headwinds exceeding 40km/hr. All this and more prepared me to set out and achieve my goal.

Ahmed Al-Shahrani: the first para-athlete to cross Qatar
Proud to be Qatari. Ahmed at NMoQ with others (image credit: Ahmed Al-Shahrani)

Tell us about your role as an Accessible Qatar ambassador.

As one of the Accessible Qatar ambassadors; a lot of our work is awareness and advocacy. A highlight of one of our achievements in spreading more inclusivity in sports and through the initiative we were able to promote wheelchair fencing and hand cycling.

What do you consider to be your career highlight?

    In my amateur sporting career, I would have to say Al-Adaid 2020 was a highlight. Crossing 29 km off-road with its various terrains and climbing ten sand dunes with the help of my friends and the warm reception at the finish line was amazing.

    What are your favourite sports?

    It’s hard to pin it down to one. I enjoy physical activities. I love trying new things and learning new skills. I enjoy shooting because it makes me focus on the target. Fencing forces me to live in the moment and just react without thinking. Swimming, which I’m yet to master, taught me to go with the flow. And running has become an integral part of me; I can’t see myself not running.

    Ahmed Al-Shahrani: the first para-athlete to cross Qatar
    Ahmed doing what he does best! (image credit: Bosco Menezes/bigbfotografi)

    Who is your favourite sportsperson?

    Muhammad Ali. He was more than a sportsman, he was a balanced human being who showed the world what one can achieve via sports and apply it to all the different aspects of one's life. May he rest in peace.

    Where will you go from here?

    InshaAllah bigger and better things. There are a few world records I would like to break. I have also been thinking about entering professional wheelchair racing. There are a lot of goals I see myself pursuing over the next decade.

    Ahmed Al-Shahrani: the first para-athlete to cross Qatar
    Ahmed crossing Khor Al Udaid (image credit: Ahmed Al-Shahrani)

    What’s the biggest factor that has helped you be successful in what you do?

    Positivity and making the best out of every situation and hand you’ve been dealt. For example, stubbornness can be a negative trait or a weakness. I use stubbornness to block out any negativity. I also use it to help me persevere and keep going. So, for sure making the best of all I’ve been dealt with and seeing the possibility, not the current reality, has been key to my own success.

    What mistakes have you made along the way?

    I’ve made a lot along the way. I’m not perfect and won't always get things right. I’ve come to terms with that. When we pursue new things there won't always be a clear path. And, what worked for many may not work for you. I accept my mistakes and consider them a part of the learning curve. I learn and move on. I don’t dwell in them. I don’t allow self-doubt to overwhelm me. So, mistakes have been my teachers and lessons along this journey.

    Ahmed Al-Shahrani: the first para-athlete to cross Qatar
    Ahmed is joined by little Salem on his run to mark Autism Acceptance Month (image credit: Bosco Menezes/bigbfotografi)

    What was the hardest decision you ever had to make?

    Along our journey in life, we all have some hard decisions to make. All the hard decisions in my life have been personal private matters. But when I am faced with such hard decisions, I always try to base my choice, not on an emotion or feeling, but a principle, belief, or a philosophy I believe in, so even if it’s the wrong decision I don’t regret making it. As I know I based it on something I believed in and not just how I felt in the moment.

    How would you describe yourself in 4 words?

    Just a human being.

    Ahmed Al-Shahrani: the first para-athlete to cross Qatar
    Ahmed in the Chicago Metropolitan area (image credit: Ahmed Al-Shahrani)

    What's the best thing about what you do?

    I enjoy what I do and it helps keep me healthy.

    What are you most passionate about?

    Helping others reach their full potential and being better.

    Ahmed Al-Shahrani: the first para-athlete to cross Qatar
    Ahmed marked Autism Awareness with a run on the Al Majd road stretch (image credit: Bosco Menezes/bigbfotografi)

    What do you think are the secrets behind getting to where you are?

    The source and secret of my success for sure are God. I’m blessed. And blessings from God come in many forms: family, friends, kind words from strangers at the right moment, good health, support, these are but a few.

    What are your future plans?

    I don’t know what the future holds for me. But I do know I will keep pushing myself. Setting myself new challenges and exploring my full potential. Samla? Marathon des Sables?

    What hard skills should someone in your field have?

    Dedication and commitment to your goal.

    Video credit: Podcast Network Qatar

    What soft skills should someone in your field have?

    A heart, a mentality that doesn’t accept less than your full potential.

    What are your hobbies?

    I enjoy reading, writing, watching documentaries, and all the different sports I take part in.

    What is your favourite travel destination? What is your favourite food?

    I love to travel but don’t travel as much as I like. Once I travel the world will tell you about my favourite destination. I’m not a big foodie, but I love coffee.

    When is your birthday?

      March 29th.

      What is your motto in life?

      Al-HamdAllah, Thank God.

      What would you like to be remembered for?

        To be honest I don’t think about that much. Memory is a funny thing, we as humans remember very random things and everytime we remember something we rewrite the memory. Whatever or however people remember me, I hope it’s positive and makes them smile and believe in themselves.

        Is there any message you’d like to give the people in Qatar?

        Do you know your purpose and full potential? You only live once so LIVE. Pursue what you hear in that brief moment between every heartbeat. Stop chasing perfection. Stop dreaming. Set goals. Reach your potential. Live.

        Follow Ahmed and his achievements through his social media channels:

        Cover image credit: Ahmed Al-Shahrani

        Did you enjoy this Who's Who in Qatar? Did you find Ahmed's story inspirational? Who would you like us to feature next? Do let us know in our comments section. Like and share the article - it keeps us going!