Wednesday, 1 August 2012

  • August 01, 2012
  • Iraq Solidarity News (Al-Thawra)
  • No comments

WHEN Ahmed Kelly was told he was leaving Iraq for treatment in Australia, he envisaged a sterile life condemned to a hospital bed. Now the North Melbourne resident, who was born with disabilities in all four of his limbs, is heading to London for a tilt at swimming glory at his first Paralympics. 

Growing up in a Baghdad orphanage for children with disabilities, Kelly used to wait at the window, watching kids heading off to school and hoping that one day he would join them. He and his brother Emmanuel were the "fortunate" ones at the home, he said, able to move around without any assistance.  
The 21-year-old was instead grateful to the opportunities given to him, especially at being adopted by Moira Kelly of the Children First Foundation.

"When I left (Baghdad) I was told by mum we were trying to come here to see what the doctors can do and hopefully make a better life," Kelly said. But although grateful to those who raised him, he doesn't dwell on the past. 

His eyes are firmly set on this month's London meet, where he will compete in the 50m and 100m breaststroke events. "Hopefully I'll swim a personal best and I'd definitely like a world record in the end result. "And with the world record would come gold so that would be a dream." 

Ahmed is also eager to encourage young people with disabilities to pursue their Paralympic dreams - but only if they loved their chosen sport. "It's a tough road - the early mornings, the tough training and floggings in the water. "You need to be able to enjoy it."


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