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Jordan Paralympians head to Rio

By JT - Sep 04,2016 - Last updated at Sep 04,2016

AMMAN — While Jordan continues to celebrate the achievements of Ahmad Abu Ghaush in winning the Kingdom’s first ever medal at an Olympic Games last month, our attention turns to the Rio Paralympic Games which get under way on Wednesday, according to the Jordan Olympic Committee News Service.

The Kingdom has sent 10 athletes to the event which will also take place in Rio de Janeiro where Abu Ghaush took his historic gold in the taekwondo -68kg category.

But winning medals is nothing new to our Paralympians who travel to South America in confident form.

HRH Prince Raad Bin Zaid, Jordan Paralympics Committee president, thanked Jordan Olympic Committee President HRH Prince Feisal for his support to the delegation and added: “We have worked very hard over the last four years for this huge event and we are looking to make an impact.”

But glory would signify an upturn in fortune after a disappointing London 2012 where the delegation returned home empty handed.

“We have prepared extremely well for Rio and our athletes are in the best form they can possibly be in,” said experienced former world champion powerlifter Mutaz Al Juneidi.

“What Ahmad did can only inspire us to try our best for Jordan,” said former world record holder Juneidi. “He has given us all such a boost that we all now want to win.”

Jordan has won eight Paralympic medals since first participating in 1984, and has sent athletes to compete in every Summer Paralympic Games since, with the exception of the 1992 summer games.

The first medal, a silver, was won by Imad Gharbawi in the 1996 Atlanta games. In 2000, the country took its first gold medal when Maha Bargouthi won the women’s singles table tennis competition.

Two more medals were won at the 2004 Paralympics, a silver in shot put by Jamil Elshebli and a bronze in table tennis by the three-member women’s table tennis team of Maha Bargouthi, Kheta Abuawad and Fatmeh Al Azzam.

In the 2008 Beijing games Jordanian Paralympians won four more medals, two silvers in athletics (Jamil Elshabli) and powerlifting (Omar Qarada), and two bronze medals in powerlifting (Juneidi) and table tennis by the same women’s team of 2004.

For Rio there is a good mix of experienced Paralympians and new talent looking to make their mark.

In table tennis, the experienced Barghouthi, Abu Awad and Osamah Abu Jame’ will all be in with a chance of honours while Belal Yousef competes in the athletics.

A strong powerlifting team will consist of Abdel Karim Khattab, Haidarah Al Kawamleh, Juneidi, Jamil Al Shebli, Tharwat Al Hajjaj and Qaradeh.

The athletes will be supported by a strong technical backroom staff which includes table tennis coach Haroun Al Shaltouni, athletics coach Ahmad Mashhour and powerlifting coach Adel Weshah.

Also supporting will be Ali Al Hadidi (chef de mission), Dawoud Shehadeh (coordinator), Jaser Nweiran (technical manager), Ahmad Heyasat (physiotherapist) and Rasha Al Khayyat (secretary).

 

The Paralympic Games take place from September 7-18.

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