Tokyo Paralympics: Meet our Heroes

The Paralympics began on the 24th of August in Tokyo with 48 Egyptian athletes participating and 7 medals collected.  From inspiring performances to victories and medals, Egypt’s delegation at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics has performed exceptionally well. This event continues to prove that disability isn’t a limitation of individuals, but rather of society’s misguided and ignorant outlook.

What are the Paralympics?

The Paralympic Games or Paralympics is the largest international event for disabled athletes and societal change and take place shortly after every Olympic Games in the same host city.

Egyptian achievements at Tokyo Paralympics:

Once again captivating the hearts of millions, Egyptian Paralympian Ibrahim Hamadtou has been one of the highlights of the games for Egyptians with his determination and skill in table tennis even though he did not achieve any medals.

Sherif Osman and Rehab Ahmed had won their first medal in the Tokyo games.

Osman is a powerlifting legend, having won a gold medal in each of the last three Paralympics, setting a world and a Paralympic record back at the 59 Kg class in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro games.

Despite not being able to maintain the gold medal for a fourth consecutive time, Osman clinched the silver medal after coming second behind China’s Qi Yongkai. Both Osman and Yongkai lifted 187 kg; however, it was the Chinese who claimed the gold medal as he has a lower body weight of 57.75, compared to Osman’s 58.41.

In the women’s 50 kg powerlifting event, Rehab Ahmed made history after breaking the Paralympic record of 107 kg twice, first by lifting 117 kg in her first attempt and then 120 in the second one. However surprisingly China’s Hu Dandan managed to lift 120 kg and Rehab failed in her third attempt of 121 kg and with both athletes equalled in weight lifted, the Chinese player claimed the medal as she has a lower body weight of 49.27 while Rehab’s weight is 49.87. This Rehab’s second-ever Paralympic medal, having won the silver back in 2016 at also the 50 kg class.

On 28 August, 2021, Fatma Omar won the silver medal in the 67-kilogram weight category, making her the first woman to win six consecutive Paralympic medals in powerlifting. Besides already having five gold medals in previous Paralympics.

Mahmoud Sabry won his silver medal in the 72-kilogram weight category on Saturday 28 August, 2021, after defeating his British and Chinese counterparts by lifting 185 kilograms in his first attempt and 191 kilograms in his third.

“I came to Japan aiming for fifth place, or to compete for bronze. I did not expect to win the silver medal, but I made a great effort and my efforts were crowned with unexpected joy,” said Sabry to Al-Youm7.

Mohammed Sobhy won his bronze medal in weightlifting on Saturday, 28 August 2021. Competing for the weight of 80 kilograms, Sobhy managed to win his medal by lifting 212 kilograms.

Hany Abdelhady won a bronze medal in powerlifting for the 88-kilogram weight category on Sunday, 29 August, 2021.

Since his debut in 2007, Abdelhady has won a gold medal in London 2012 Paralympic Games in the 90-kilogram weight category.

Mohamed Elzayat has secured Egypt’s seventh medal at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics in the men’s Taekwondo -61kg K44 event. Elzayat’s achievement marks Egypt’s first non-powerlifting medal at the 2020 Paralympics.

Elzayat missed out on a chance for the gold medal against Brazil’s Nathan Torquato after sustaining an injury during his earlier semi-finals bout against Russia’s Daniil Sidorov. 

Why are Paralympics important?

Now here is why these athletes need to be recognized and celebrated more widely. Not only are these people highly skilled in their fields, but they also defeated their disabilities. They display great determination and courage to overcome mental and physical obstacles. They are truly inspirational because they prove that few things are impossible. The Paralympics also raise awareness of mental and physical disabilities in the hope of creating a better life for those with disabilities. It therefore serves to change public perception of disabilities in order to provide the Paralympics with better facilities that would drastically improve their quality of life.

Unfortunately, the Paralympics don’t get the recognition or value they deserve. For example, Tokyo Olympics attracted approximately 17 million viewers while the Paralympics inly attracted 8 million. The Paralympic athletes also earn less in financial awards for medals and earn fewer stipends throughout their careers. Overall, less media exposure and national recognition is granted to these athletes.

To sum up, the Paralympians have lifted the cloud of limitation!

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