Abu Dhabi: Shot putters Noura Al Ketbi and Sara Al Senaani have risen above and beyond all expectations to secure path-breaking medals for the UAE at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games.
Less than 24 hours after Al Senaani made history by becoming the country’s first-ever women’s Paralympic medallist by bagging the bronze medal in the F33 class shot put final Al Ketbi followed it up by with a silver-medal throw of 4.70 metres in the F32 category.
Tunisia’s Maroura Brahmi claimed the gold with a throw of 5.76m while Australia’s Louise Ellery effort of 4.19m was good enough for her to win the bronze.
Never before have female athletes from the UAE ever achieved this success at the global sporting showpiece event and this accomplishment will go a long way in shaping the future of not only Paralympic sports but sports for women in general.
The twin success will no doubt inspire Emirati women to follow their dreams despite all adversities.
Al Ketbi and Al Senaani’s silver and bronze have helped swell the UAE’s medal’s tally to seven overall — their best effort since 2004 Athens Paralympics, where they bagged four medals.
Al Senaani pointed out that UAE girls can achieve and accomplish anything if they have strong support,” said Al Senaani, who trains at the Abu Dhabi Club for Disability Sports
“My family stood by me all the way and here I’m with a medal. Their support gave me the courage to fight and accept challenges. If you have support, then we can break any barrier and move forward. The women sport’s leadership here has also played a huge role in our success,” said the 23-year-old, whose best throw of 5.09m gave her the bronze behind Qatar’s Sara Hamdi Masoud, who took silver with a throw of 5.39m.
Algeria’s Asmahan Boudjadar won gold with a throw of 5.72m.
“The bronze medal has now added responsibility on me and for all Emirati girls in order to leave a new imprint and to achieve new goals in women’s sports,” added Al Senaani.
The UAE have also won two gold medals through veteran Mohammed Khalaf in the men’s -88kg powerlifting and Mohamed Al Hammadi in the men’s 800m T33/34 race.
In additionsharp-shooter Abdullah Sultan Al Aryani has won three silver medals in Rio.
A total of 18 Paralympians are representing the UAE at Rio, the most ever to represent the country at the event.