Following last week’s blog about our two London 2012 Olympic selections, in this week’s post we turn out attention to UEL Paralympian, Ali Jawad.
Ali, who also represented Team GB at the Beijing Paralympics, competes in powerlifting (56kg), and as a Tottenham lad, will be looking to take full advantage of Games in his home city.
Thanks to UEL’s flexible study policy for elite athletes, Ali has been able to take a break from his studies the past academic year in order to fully concentrate on preparation for the Games. Like many who will be competing at the paralympics, Ali’s story is full of inspiration, as he strives not only to overcome his physical disability, but also to manage his Chrones disease, a debilitating digestive disorder which makes it difficult for him to absorb nutrients and meet the nutritional requirements of his training.
Ali was born without legs, and before taking up powerlifting Ali competed at an International level in judo. Earlier this year he won the British Powerlifting title for the seventh time, and his performance on the day (181kg) was a British Paralympic record in the 60kg weight category.
Powerlifting involves a benchpress competition where athletes must must lower the bar to their chest and hold it still before pressing it upwards to arm’s length while keeping their elbows locked. Athletes compete there is a single sports class per gender, but a range of weight categories, similar to able-bodied weight lifting. Athletes have an impairment, to the lower limbs, which would prohibit them from competing in able-bodied weightlifting (e.g. single or double-leg amputation, stiffness of the knee joint). Thus Ali, in theory, could be competing against athletes with a range of disabilities or illnesses including spinal cord injury, amputation, congenital limb deficiency, cerebral palsy, muscle dystrophy, or dwarfism.
The Paralympic powerlifting competitions will be held at ExCeL, and the 56kg category will take place on Friday 31st August.
Ali will return to UEL in September to complete his studies as a two-times Paralympian. We wish him success in London.