By Sports Reporter Doha
The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games have ended on a high note for Team Qatar after winning two silver medals thanks to the incredible performances of Abdelrahman Abdelqader and Sara Masoud.
The Rio 2016 Paralympics were held in South America for the first time in history. The city hosted over 4,000 athletes from 176 countries from all over the world, who competed in 23 different sports from 7th to 18th of September 2016.
Abdelqader took home Qatar’s first ever Paralympic medal after an incredibly difficult F34 shot put final on 11th September in the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. Abdelqader, who is ranked third worldwide in shot put, battled tough competitors Azeddine Nouiri from Morocco, who took gold, and Mauricio Valencia from Colombia who won bronze, to secure his silver medal – the first ever Paralympic medal for Team Qatar since their Paralympic debut in the 1996 Atlanta Games. The 27-year-old shot putter stood his ground against the other seasoned athletes and secured his medal early on with an astounding 11.15m.
Speaking after the competition Abdelqader said: “When I first came here I wasn’t expecting a medal – I placed 6th in the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Of course it was my ambition to win a medal in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games and thankfully I made it happen. Winning silver was an indescribable feeling – it is the first Paralympic medal in Qatar’s history which is something I am incredibly proud of.”
Abdelqader adds his first ever Paralympic medal to an already growing and impressive repertoire which includes a gold medal in shot put and bronze in javelin during the 2014 Asian Para Games, as well as a gold medal in shot put during the 7th Fazaa International Championship 2015.
The Qatari athlete also competed in the Doha 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships where he narrowly missed out on a world medal in shot put and took 4th place – an experience he undoubtedly built on ahead of Rio 2016.
Meanwhile Masoud also went down in the history books as Qatar’s first ever female Paralympic medallist after winning silver in the F33 shot put event on 16th September. The 30-year-old gave it her all in the Olympic Stadium that night and won the silver medal after an especially close final where Algerian Asmahan Boudjadar and Sara Al-Senaani from the UAE challenged her with every attempt. The Qatari Paralympian secured her medal with an impressive 5.09 m throw, with which she entered the history books.
Masoud is developing her talent year after year; after winning a gold medal in discus throw for F33 and F34, and shot put F32 and F33 in the 2014 Asian Para Games, she went on to win a silver medal in the discus throw and shot put in the Beijing 2015 IPC Grand Prix.
Commenting on the success of Team Qatar in the Rio 2016 Paralympics, President of the Qatar Olympic Committee HE Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad al-Thani said: “We are extremely proud of our Paralympians and the historic accomplishments they’ve made in the Rio 2016 Games. Abdelqader and Masoud exemplify what can be done when you combine talent, hard work and limitless potential. Both of them have made history by winning their silver medals and both have competed in the Doha 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships – which undoubtedly played a role in developing their skills ahead of Rio. This is the kind of legacy we hope to achieve – one which inspires audiences and creates new sporting heroes.”
Mohammed al-Kubaisi was the third and final member of Team Qatar, and competed in the 100m T34 wheelchair race. Al-Kubaisi went head to head with the fastest athletes in the world and managed to secure a spot in the final.
Rio 2016 marks al-Kubaisi’s Paralympic debut although has already had great success on the regional level at only 23 years old including winning gold medals in the 100 and 200 meters events during the Beijing 2015 IPC Grand Prix, and snagging a gold medal in 100 meters from the 2014 Asian Para Games.
Commenting on Team Qatar’s performance in Rio 2016, Ameer al-Mulla, Executive Director of the Qatar Paralympic Committee said: “We are beyond happy with our team’s performance in Rio 2016. They competed against the strongest athletes in the world and walked away with silver medals – for the first time in Qatar’s history. Our athletes have been training extremely hard for Rio 2016 and we are pleased to say that all of their hard work and preparation has paid off. The future of these athletes is as bright as ever and we cannot wait to see what else is in store in their sporting journey.”
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