Rio Paralympic Games is the next wave of Olympics in Brazil this year. The games began on September 7th and will end on September 18th. Not really advertised like the main Olympic Games, the Paralympic Games started in an effort to include a wide range of disabled athletes in sports competitions. This is the reason it is also held in Brazil and not too long after the main Olympic Games have ended.
What started as an event for World War II British veterans who found themselves with disabilities after fighting the war became an international event. It’s not as funded like the regular Olympics and there is a lot of noise going around for the blatant favoritism. That said, the Paralympic Games are only subsidized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). As a matter of fact, they are governed by International Paralympic Committee (IPC).
Now, there have been controversies about cheating done by some of the athletes who had claimed being with disabilities when in fact they weren’t. So, stricter rules have been made in place to counteract false claims and more methods to distinguish a disabled person from a non-disabled are being designed.
Having said that, not all disabled athletes are satisfied with only playing in the Paralympic Games. Some rather compete in the normal Olympic Games as well to assert and seek equal opportunities. They don’t want any favor or distinction. This is for instance the case of the notorious Oscar Pistorius. Several other disabled athletes have competed in the regular Olympics too.
This year 43 African countries are participating, 27 countries in the Americas also are, 40 Asian countries, 44 European countries, and finally six countries from Oceania will also be competing for medals. A total of 160 countries will go against each other and fight for the prized gold, silver, and bronze medals.
Some athletes to look out for are:
This Iranian athlete is a Paralympic and an Olympic archer. She was previously a back belt Taekwondo athlete but had to switch sports due to a car accident. She has several medals; gold and bronze.
Fatimata Diasso Brigitte
A runner from Ivory Coast, Diasso is a 26 year old runner who has a visual impairment since childhood. She will be running the Women's 100m - T11, Women's 100m - T11, and the Women’s Long Jump T11. This is her first Paralympic participation. She was supposed to compete in London 2012 but she was disqualified at the last minute due to an injury. Around Africa and her own country, she has won medals of achievements.
El Amin Chentouf
From Morocco, Chentouf is a Paralympic runner and a multi-gold medalist in T12 races. He will be competing in the IPC athletics for men. Watch out for the 35-year-old because he’ll be defending the world champion title he holds.
Benhama is the women’s defending champion for Morocco. She did very well in Beijing 2008 with three gold medals. She will be running the Women’s 100- T13 and Women’s 400- T13.
This Turkish Paralympic athlete is another one to watch out for. He has gold under his belt in Five-a-side soccer. In fact, he helped his team win gold at the 2015 ISBA European Championship. Bravo! Tune in to see him dribble the ball ad score many goals like he is known to do.
From Great Britain, Jawad will be competing in Powerlifting. He has several gold medals in several Men’s category. The 27-year-old is an inspiration. Born without his legs in war torn Lebanon, he has achieved the impossible to some of us. Like all the Paralympic athletes around the world, he didn’t let his handicap dictate his call in life.
Muratli is another Paralympic powerlifter from Turkey. At the London 2012 Paralympics in women's up to 40kg, she won Gold. The 37 year old has other medals. The most recent being gold in the 2014 IPC Powerlifting World Championshipsfor women's up to 41kg.
The Egyptian Paralympic won gold at the 2014 IPC World championships for men's up to 54kg in Powerlifting. Amongst others he holds, there is one gold from Beijing 2008. Osman was a shot putter before deciding to do only powerlifting.
The Iranian will be competing in IPC shooting. She won Bronze at London 2012 Paralympic Games but gold at 2014 IPC Shooting World Championships. Watch out for this shooting star as well.
Ramezan Salehi Hajikolaei
Hajikolaei is another Iranian competing at the 2016 Paralympic Games in sitting Volleyball. He won silver in London 2012 and gold in Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games.
Above all, tune in to follow and support these outstanding athletes and the others not mentioned here. May the best athletes win!