Dubai: His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, praised the UAE Paralympics team for winning seven gold, silver and bronze medals in the Rio 2016 Paralympics.
During a meeting with the head of the delegation and members of the UAE Paralympics delegation to Rio, Shaikh Mohammad applauded this global sports achievement, and emphasised that willpower can overcome the impossible.
Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince, was present during the meeting.
The UAE team of 18 athletes competed in a range of sports, including powerlifting, shot put, discus and shooting. was headed by Theban Al Muhairi, secretary general of the UAE Paralympic Committee.
Shaikh Mohammad pointed out that success would not be possible without the determination or willpower to succeed and win.
He hailed the efforts of the athletes, and technical and administrative staff. He also praised the efforts of all those who contributed to the athletes training in preparation for the Rio 2016 Paralympics.
Shaikh Mohammad said that the team’s victories placed the UAE on the world Paralympics map, and reflects the sportsmanship of the team that consists of male and female athletes with different disabilities.
Shaikh Mohammad spoke with the Emirati medal winners and congratulated them and the UAE Paralympics federation on this victory.
He also congratulated the athletes’ families, pointing out that it is they who have encouraged and supported the athletes, and instilled in them a determination to reach advanced ranks in this global sports event. Shaikh Mohammad ordered cash rewards to be granted to the athletes in order to motivate them towards similar achievements in future regional and international sports events.
Shaikh Mohammad said that the UAE leadership, government and people strongly believe in cultivating a culture of strong willpower and determination to achieve the impossible.
The UAE squad when to Rio having won 12 medals in six previous appearances with their best haul at a single Games being four, achieved in both Sydney and Athens.
Shooter Abdullah Sultan Al Aryani was the toast of the Games adding three silver medals to the gold he won at London in 2012. Mohammed Khalaf and Mohammed Al Hammadi won their second golds in powerlifting and athletics respectively while Sara Al Senaani became the first Emirati female to win a medal when taking the shot-put bronze.
The UAE owed a lot of their success to the driving force of Theban Al Muhairi, the secretary-general of the National Paralympic Committee, a former shot put and discus thrower who was left paralysed following a car crash in the nineties.
— With inputs from WAM