Emirati Paralympian Abdullah Hayayei has died during a tragic incident while training in London ahead of the World Para Athletics Championships on Tuesday.
According to Majid Al Usaimi, the vice president of the UAE Disabled Sports Federation, a discus cage at the official training venue fell on Hayayei, who passed away at 17:20 on Tuesday in the British capital.
The 36-year-old para athlete represented the UAE at the Rio 2016 Paralympics last year and finished sixth in the javelin and seventh in the shot put F34 events.
He was due to compete in the discus, javelin, and shot put F34 events at the World Championships that begin in London on Friday.
“The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) is deeply saddened to announce the death of United Arab Emirates (UAE) Para athlete Abdullah Hayayei following a training ground incident this evening (11 July) in London, Great Britain,” read a statement published on www.paralympic.org.
“Hayayei, 36, a thrower in the F34 class, was training at Newham Leisure Centre in preparation for the World Para Athletics Championships London 2017 which open on Friday when the incident took place.
“Emergency services were called shortly after 17:00 to reports of a seriously injured man. Police, London Ambulance Service and London’s Air Ambulance attended the scene. At 17:20 the athlete was pronounced dead at the scene.”
International Paralympic Committee (IPC) president, Philip Craven said: “We are all truly devastated by this tragic news and the passing of Abdullah. The thoughts, prayers and condolences of the whole Paralympic Movement are with Abdullah’s family, friends and teammates as well as the whole of the National Paralympic Committee of the UAE. We are all in state of shock at this terrible tragedy.”
Speaking to Dubai Sports TV, Al Usaimi was unable to elaborate on the tragic incident due to ongoing investigations but briefly described what happened.
“We are overcome by grief, all of the UAE delegation here in London, and are truly shocked by this news, but it is God’s will,” said Al Usaimi in Arabic. “We cannot discuss the details of the incident but what I can say is that during afternoon practice for the throwing team, at the official training venue of the competition, Abdullah was going through his usual training routines, before the metal discus cage fell on his head. The on-site medical staff tried to help him but to no avail.
“We cannot say more right now, they immediately conducted an investigation onsite and we are now waiting for the official report. The UAE embassy in London, the consul and other embassy staff are here with us.”
Asked if the UAE team still plan on competing at the World Championships, Al Usaimi said: “The delegation, these athletes who carry disabilities are soldiers of the UAE, raising the nation’s flag with every achievement. We had a meeting with the entire delegation and decided to continue our journey here, with greater motivation in honour of and as a tribute to our brother Abdullah.”
The IPC statement said that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have been informed about the incident.
During Friday’s Opening Ceremony at the London Stadium a moment of silence will be held in honour of Hayayei’s death.