He is one of the most decorated Paralympian in UAE history and continues to shatter the record books for the nation in global sport.
Emirati star shooter Abdullah Sultan Al Aryani returned from the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games last year with three silver medals to go with the gold he claimed in London four years earlier.
Al Aryani had competed in the Sydney Olympics in 2000, a year before he suffered a car accident that paralysed him from the waist down.
“The accident was in 2001, we were coming back from training my falcons, and we got into a car accident,” recalls Al Aryani.
“With orders from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, within two days they flew me to Germany for treatment. I stayed there for a year and eight months after discovering I had a broken spinal cord and was 80 per cent paralysed.
“Of course after something like that happens, you reassess your life and you face certain family circumstances and you need about a year or two to catch up with society around you. Since I am a captain in the military, my life changed from being an active, working life, to being a disabled person confined to a chair.”
Al Aryani regrouped and formed a shooting team at Al Ain Club and went to his first Paralympic Games in Beijing in 2008. In London 2012, he claimed gold in the Mixed R6-50m Rifle Prone-SH1 competition and in Rio last year, he took silver in the mixed R6-50m Rifle Prone-SH1, the R1 10m air rifle standing SH1, and the R7 50m rifle three positions SH1.
He is the only Emirati to own four Paralympic medals.
“In Brazil, I hoped and promised everyone I would get three medals and thank God I achieved three silver medals and I was close to gold in all three competitions. In Tokyo 2020 I pray to God to bless us and I achieve a gold medal to put a smile on people’s faces,” he says.
Watch the video above (courtesy of Abu Dhabi Sports Council) to know more about Al Aryani’s journey.
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