Designation: Paralympics gold medalist
Abdullah Al Aryani became a household name overnight when he became the first athlete to win a gold medal at the Paralympics in 2012.
Al Aryani scored 592 in the qualifying section for the R6-50m prone rifle shooting event before going on to score 102.8 in the final to finish on 694.8, just 0.2 ahead of his rivals. And Al Aryani doesn’t plan to stop any time soon. Shortly after his return to the UAE he said: “The gold medal is only the start of my quest. I think I have overcome my biggest challenge in accepting my condition and fate. I know I can win many more gold medals for my country. From now on, I have nothing but Rio de Janeiro on my mind. I want gold and I know I can do it for my country.”
Al Aryani has certainly come a long way since January 2001. The army officer was returning from a hunting trip when his car crashed, leaving him paralysed from the waist down. But he saw his accident as an opportunity, rather than a disaster.