With just a few years left for the Summer Paralympic Games to kick-off, Emirati cyclist, Abdullah Salem al Blooshi, will be one among the hundreds of athletes from around the globe, who would be undergoing training properly in order to make it to the national teams.
Abdullah was just 12 when he started cycling at the Al Ahli Club in 2004 and bagged his first team medal a year later. Two years later, he represented the UAE in the national team.
His lightning rise to success continued with an international accomplishment, a bronze medal in the team time trial at the 2009 Arabian Championship. He even became the first Emirati in the main group of a cyclist in a race in the Asian Championship that was held in the UAE the same year.
Then he moved into the elite category in 2010, he sounded on course for stardom in the cycling world. However, two years later, at the age of 20, Abdullah sustained a traumatic injury during training.
Clashing with a road sign at high speed, his right arm suffered damage that proved to be a life-changing experience. Over the next few years, he went through more than 30 surgeries in the UAE and with specialists coming from Germany but could not get back the use of his right arm.
For many athletes, such an injury would demoralize them from carrying on with the sport they loved, or put an end to the dreams of international achievement. However, it wasn’t the same for Abdullah.
Firstly, it was just the love of the sport. But later, after being encouraged by his friend and present coach, Mohammed Al Murawwi Abdullah, he took part in the racing field again. His first race was the Nad al Sheba race in the determination category, where he was able to take home the winner’s title. From that time onwards, Abdullah has taken part in Paralympic competitions all over the globe and is part of the UAE Paralympic national team.