UAE

UAE team vow to give their best at London 2017 in honour of Abdullah Hayayei

Sport360 staff 12/07/2017
Abdullah Hayayei (Photo credit: Gaber Abedeen)

The UAE Paralympic sport community is in a state of shock following the death of Emirati Paralympian Abdullah Hayayei during a training session at an official venue of the London 2017 World Para Athletics Championships on Tuesday, where he was preparing for the competition.

Majid Al Usaimi, the vice president of the UAE National Paralympic Committee (NPC), confirmed in a press conference at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on Wednesday, that Hayayei's death involved the collapse of a metal throwing cage on his head.

The incident was witnessed by his team-mates, team officials, and a number of staff from the London 2017 organising committee, according to Craig Spence, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) media and communications director.

Both IPC and London 2017 organising committee officials were unable to reveal any details of the incident due to a current police investigation in the matter, but Al Usaimi had already told UAE media on Tuesday about the collapsed throwing cage and when asked on Wednesday if that were the case, Ed Warner, the London 2017 organising committee co-chair said it was a "fair assumption".

"The incident took place at 17:00 hours and as soon as it happened, an onsite member of the competition team emergency services, called emergency services and the first ambulance was onsite before that call had even finished. Two onsite London 2017 physios at the venue immediately attended the incident to offer what help they could. Police and the London ambulance were soon on the scene. Sadly at 17:20, the athlete was pronounced dead at the scene. As is the procedure in cases of a sudden death, a police investigation is ongoing with the support of the Health and Safety Executive," said Spence on Wednesday.

The Newham Leisure Centre, where the incident took place, is closed until further notice, and organisers of London 2017 considered postponing the World Championships but eventually decided the competition would commence as planned on Friday July 14.

The UAE team, consisting of 16 athletes currently in London, have also decided to stay and compete in the championships, is a way of honouring Hayayei.

"Abdullah Hayayei was one of our great athletes. He had worked very hard and his dream was to become a Paralympic medalist at the Tokyo 2020 Games," Al Usaimi told Sport360.

"He was part of the delegation for the Rio Games. He was a very kind person and was always spreading the positive energy with his friends. It's a big loss for everyone and the UAE and our condolences goes to his family.

"Of course it was a shock and it was really really bad to hear the news. We had a meeting with the athletes and they want to give something in return for him because he gave his life to his country. The athletes have promised to give their best performance for Abdullah their friend. It’s not easy for anyone but we need to keep going.

"I knew him for a long time and travelled with him to a lot championships. He was one of those athletes who always responded well and was very positive with everyone and his friends."

Al Usaimi told reporters at the press conference in London: "He was ambitious, he dreamed to raise his country’s flag and achieve medals for his country and for his family. As a father of five kids, he had a lot of dreams within the para sports movement."

Hayayei, 36, is a father of five children. He competed in the F34 class, this is for athletes with a coordination impairment. Due to the nature of their impairment, most F34 athletes are wheelchair users, as a result when competing in throwing events they use a special chair which is secured to the throwing circle.

London 2017 was to be his second world championships. Two years ago in Doha, he competed in the discus where he placed fifth and eighth in the shot put.

Last September he made his Paralympic debut at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games finishing sixth in javelin and seventh in shot put. Here in London he was set to compete in three events, starting with the shot put on Sunday, followed by discus on Wednesday and javelin on the final Sunday of the competition.

During Friday’s London 2017 opening ceremony, a moment of silence will be observed in the stadium to honour Hayayei’s passing.

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UAE

UAE Paralympian Abdullah Hayayei dies in training incident at London 2017 World Para Athletics Championships venue

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Abdullah Hayayei during the IPC Athletics World Championships in 2015.

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.

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Lamia Tariq Malallah, Sara Al Muhairi and Lina Hamani win gymnastics medals in France

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All smiles: From left - Lina Hamani, Lamia Malallah and Sara Al Muhairi.

The parent of gold medalist Lamia Tariq Malallah believes action must now be taken to form a UAE gymnastics federation “as soon as possible” if the country wants to compete in the Olympics and achieve more success in future competitions.

Six-year-old Malallah, and Sara Al Muhairi and Lina Hamani, both eight, who all train at Dubai Youth Olympic School for Rhythmic Gymnastics (DYOSRG), impressed the judges with their performances to win medals at the 4th Open GR Azur International Rhythmic Gymnastics tournaments in France earlier this month.

Malallah was crowned champion in the Senior B, 2010-11 category, while Al Muhairi (silver, 2009 C) and Hamani (silver, 2009 B) came second best in their respective competitions.

The feats are more impressive considering DYOSRG were granted special permission to compete in the two-day tournament which attracted more than 170 competitors from 14 nations.

For major international tournaments, every entrant requires a licence from their own gymnastics federation to compete – something which the UAE does not have.

Since her daughter Lamia took up the sport almost a year ago, winning various medals, Malak has been in contact with organisations and following the France achievements, she fears any substantial delay could hinder gymnasts’ prospects in the future.

“We’ve been having talks with the General Authority of Youth and Sports Welfare and Dubai Sports Council and they said it would take a few months,” she said.

“We need a UAE Gymnastics Federation  and if there is one launched, I believe there will be a lot of Emiratis who would be interested to join the sport.

“The girls have done well in France but I feel we would need one as soon as possible if the girls want to continue competing. As they grow older, they would need licences to compete in major overseas competitions which would include the world championships.”

She added: “In France, we didn’t have our own judge. Every nation who competes must have their own judge. How can we take a judge if we don’t have a federation of our own in the UAE?”

For Lamia, the triumph saw her win the first gold for UAE in an overseas competition – a feat that took Malak by surprise.

“To be honest, I wasn’t expecting her to win,” she said.

“I had prepared her and told her after the competition, that you might not win because the judges may not be fair. She was disappointed initially but when she heard her name called out over the speakers, she was elated.”

Prior to visiting Disneyland Paris to celebrate her success, Lamia added: “I did really well and this is what I deserved because I trained hard for this competition and hope to win more medals.”

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