(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) googletag.defineSlot('/1251894/NationInArticle300x250', [300, 250],'div-gpt-ad-1479021454016-3').addService(googletag.pubads()); googletag.pubads().enableSyncRendering(); googletag.enableServices();googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1479021454016-3'); Willpower is what got three Emirati Paralympians medals for their country despite their physical disability, they said on the final day of the Dubai Health Forum (DHF) on Tuesday.
Paralympians Abdullah Al Arayani, Mohammed Khamis Khalaf and Sara Al Senaani spoke about the challenges they had to overcome while representing the UAE in the Paralympics during a session titled 'The Paralympics - Going for the Gold."
"Willpower is what got me the gold medal," said veteran Khalaf who ended the UAE's wait for a gold medal at the Rio 2016 Paralympics when he aced the men's 88kg powerlifting competition.
"I was recovering from a serious injury and everyone was telling me that I should quit the Paralympics and focus on my health if I ever recovered, but I didn't, I was determined to compete and win," he said.
"I was honoured to have won the gold medal for my country but the cherry on top was when His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid AlMaktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, tweeted about my win." Khalaf also won the gold at the 2004 Athens Games in the 82.5kg category.
UAE shooter Al Aryani, who won a silver medal at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in the R6 - mixed 50m rifle prone SH1 final, revealed the challenges he faced after he became wheelchair-bound following a car accident in 2001.
"I was a shooter prior to the accident as a fully able-bodied man and after the accident as a person with disabilities and I must say that I believe that those with disabilities are more capable because they have stronger willpower," he said.
Al Senaani who suffers from cerebral palsy also wanted to play sports to prove that those with disabilities are just as capable as others. "I wanted to show everyone that I am capable of doing great things, I knew that the Paralympics was my chance to do so. I told myself that I will win even if it was by one centimetre and that is exactly what happened," said Senaani who became the first UAE woman to win a Paralympics medal when she claimed bronze in the T33 classification shot put event in Rio de Janeiro.