The final day of the GCC Para-Athletics Championships came to an exciting end on Tuesday 15th September, with more medals for Team Qatar. The GCC’s para-athletes will now turn their focus to the Doha 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships which take place in five weeks in the Qatar Sports Club from 21st to 31st October.
President of the GCC Para-Athletics Championships Organising Committee Khalid al-Mohannadi said during the closing ceremony:
“The GCC Para-Athletics Championships were very successful on an organizational level and are proof that Qatar is more than ready to host an exceptional edition of the IPC Athletics World Championships. We hope this event has given the GCC athletes a platform to build on as they turn their attention to the World Championships in October.”
Qatari para-athletics star Shareefa al-Haddad added yet another gold medal to Team Qatar’s final medal tally, bringing her personal total to three golds, in the 100m Deaf/T20 women’s event in a time of 16.68 seconds. She finished just ahead of silver medalist Qatar’s Mona al-Saadi who took second place with a time of 17.66 seconds.
Speaking after her victory al-Haddad said: “The GCC Para-Athletics Championships have been immensely successful for me. I am extremely pleased and excited to have won three gold medals for Qatar. I am really excited ahead of the Doha 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships in October and I will give it my absolute best to make Qatar proud once again.”
Qatari Paralympian Nasser al-Sahoti, who competed in the 2004 Athens Paralympic Games, showed his prowess and experience in the men’s F56/57 javelin event, dominating the competition with a best throw of 32.87 m to win the gold medal. The UAE’s Rashed al-Zeyoudi meanwhile took home the silver medal with a best throw of 19.06 m while Saudi Arabia’s Fahad bin Diran claimed the bronze medal.
Commenting on his performance al-Sahoti said: “The javelin competition was very tough and I was up against some incredibly talented athletes so I am very pleased with my performance. The GCC Championships have been a great opportunity for me ahead of the Doha 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships in which I hope to qualify for the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games.”
Meanwhile in the men’s 200m T20 event, Abdulla Abdelrahim took the silver medal for Team Qatar with a time of 25.98 seconds, just behind Saudi Arabia’s Rashed al-Yami who won the gold medal with a lightning fast 24.51 seconds. Kuwait’s Saeed al-Rashidi settled for the bronze medal with a time of 26.99 seconds.
Up-and-coming Qatari wheelchair racer Khalid al-Hajri claimed the silver medal in the men’s 800m T33/34 event with 2.28.82 seconds. Al-Hajri was bested by the current world-record and Asian-record holder Kuwaiti star Ahmad al-Mutairi, who took home the gold medal with an incredible time of 1.59.69 seconds, mere milliseconds away from his own world record of 1.59.14 seconds.
Kuwait also won two gold medals on the final day of the GCC Para-Athletics Championships in the men’s discus F40/41/42/44 and 200m T52/53 events. Kuwaiti Abdullah al-Saif took the gold medal in the discus event, ahead of Saudi Arabia’s Ali Al-Bishi, who won the silver medal. Kuwaiti Paralympic Champion Hamad al-Adwani, who won one gold medal and two silver medals in the 2004 Athens Paralympic Games, displayed his superior experience and power in the 200m event and won the gold medal with a time of 28.49 seconds. Saudi Arabian athletes Fahad al-Ghanidal and Mohammed Kaabi claimed the silver and bronze medals with a time of 30.14 seconds and 33.74 seconds respectively.
The UAE continued their impressive performance on the last day of competition winning five gold medals thanks to the efforts of Zenab al-Breiki in the club F32 women’s event, Salem al-Shehhi in the 200m T54 men’s event, as well as Maryam Al-Matrooshi in the women’s javelin F37/46 event, Eisa al-Zbeidi in the men’s F54/55 event and Badir al-Hosani in the men’s 5,000 m T54 event.
Saudi Arabia also beat the competition to win three gold medals in the 100m T35/36/37 event thanks to Alwani Saud, 200m deaf men’s event with Hassan al-Qasir leaving his competitors in the dust, and Thamer Ahmed blasting past the competition in the men’s 1,500m T20/deaf event.
Speaking after his gold medal performance, Saud said: “This is my second gold medal in the GCC Para-Athletics Championships in Qatar and this is the first regional championships that I take part in. It’s an indescribable feeling to win another medal for Saudi Arabia – winning on the final day is like ending my first ever regional championships on a high note.”
The GCC Para-Athletics Championships served as a test event for the Doha 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships, which will also be held in the Qatar Sport Club and will take place from the 21st to the 31st October 2015. The Local Organising Committee gained valuable experience during the GCC Championships in which they tested the operational readiness and procedures of all functional areas.
Tickets for the Doha 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships are on sale now at https://doha2015.q-tickets.com for the ten-day competition, which will be held from 21st-31st October at Qatar Sports Club. All proceeds of ticket sales will be donated to charity.