The 2015 GCC Para-Athletics Championships opened today at Doha’s Qatar Sports Club with an Opening Ceremony featuring Mr. Khalid al-Mohannadi, Chairman of the GCC Para-Athletics Championships Organising Committee and Mr. Ameer al-Mulla, CEO of the Championships, beforethe competition officially began. A total of 27 champions were crowned on day one, including Qatar’s very own Abdelrahman Abdelqader and Shareefa al-Hadad.
Speaking at the Opening Ceremony, Mr Khalid Al-Mohannadi, Chairman of the GCC Para-Athletics Championships Organising Committee, said:
“The GCC Para-Athletics Championships provide an opportunity to raise awareness of para-sport and people with a disability. The athletes that will be competing over the next four days will showcase their incredible abilities, demonstrating how no challenge is too small and that there are no limits to what can be achieved. We hope that their performances will help to break down barriers and change perceptions across the whole region.”
The GCC Para-Athletics Championships bring together over 200 of the best para-athletes from across the region. Six countries are participating, including hosts Qatar, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain. Organized by the GCC Organizing Committee for Sports of the Disabled, the Championships aim to create new platforms for regional athletes through which they can experience high-level competition and gain invaluable experience that can be transferred to the world stage.
Sheikh Mohammed Al-Khalifa, President of the GCC Organising Committee for Sports of the Disabled, speaking during the Opening Ceremony said:
“The GCC is filled with world class athletes of the highest calibre; world record holders, Paralympic Champions and Asian Champions. We expect new records to be set during these Championships and we hope that they will help in raising awareness of para-sport across the GCC.”
The competition kicked off with the men’s 100m T33/34, where Mohamed Al Khubaisi claimed the bronze medal. Following his race, he said:
“It was a great race and I am pleased with my performance. I was up against the world champion and the Asian Champion so the competition was incredibly tough. I hope I can bring more medals to Team Qatar in the remaining days of the Competition.”
Meanwhile Ahmed al-Mutairi from Kuwait broke the record in the 100m T33 event.
Qatar’s Shareef al-Haddad took home the gold medal in a fierce 200m race. She said following her victory:
“It is an indescribable feeling to win gold for Qatar. My gold came as a result of my dedication and will power, as well as the invaluable support of my coaches. I look forward to a great edition of the IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha in October where I hope to emulate my success today.”
There was further home success in the men’s shot put, where Abdelrahman Abdelqader, showed he is in great form ahead of next month’s IPC Athletics World Championships, with a decisive victory and a new world record of 10.68 meters. He said:
“I am extremely happy with my performance today. This is my last competition before the Doha 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships in October and I hope to enter the World Championships in the same form as I was in today and break more records and win glory for Qatar.”
Other notable victories included the UAE’s Mohammed al-Hammadi who won gold in the 100m T33/34 event who said:
“My gold medal here today in the 100m T33 event will only motivate me to achieve greater things in the Doha 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships in October. Qatar will be the first country in the Middle East to ever host the World Championships and it will mean a lot to mean to win gold among in this historic edition.”
The GCC Para-Athletics Championships are also serving as a test event for the upcoming IPC Athletics World Championships, which are also taking place at Qatar Sports Club from 21-31 October 2015. The test event will enable the Organising Committee to test operational functions and procedures across all areas to ensure that October's World Championships will be organised to the highest possible levels.
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