Young Bahraini para-athletes Noora Yusuf Zainal and Rawan Ismaeel AlSaad won first (gold) and third (bronze) places at the first Arab Online Para-taekwondo Championship, held on 20-21 June 2020. Let’s have a look back about their achievement.
A first high-intensity competition
For its first edition, the competition was a real success. It was organized jointly by the People of Determination Council of the Dubai Police and the UAE Tae Kwon Do Federation, under the supervision of the Arab Taekwondo Federation.
A total of 47 contestants, including 19 women, from 6 Arab countries took part in this virtual competition. Athletes were able to submit their performances directly online and all live. Once the performance was completed, a jury was responsible for evaluating the athlete’s presentation.
Noora and Rawan, two students at the Dojang “Sport to Door Free Spirit” located in Bahrain, caused a sensation and won the gold and bronze medals of the championship respectively. This was an exceptional result, but not by chance, as the athletes of the “Sport to Door Free Spirit” complex are trained to achieve excellence under the guidance of experienced masters, among whom is Fajar Al-Binali.
Sport and digital: two determining factors of inclusion
This competition, unprecedented in many ways, marks the willingness of Arab countries to include disabled athletes in competitive Taekwondo and to assess performance levels and the actual number of athletes who can participate in this type of event in the Arab region, probably in preparation for the next Paralympic Games.
Fajar Al-Binali, a renowned Bahraini female Taekwondo coach and athlete (she won a silver medal at the World Beach Taekwondo Championships), is well aware of the potential of organizing this first championship. The objective is obviously, through this event, to reinforce the integration of disabled people.
Victorious, the coach and mentor of the two young Bahraini athletes said she was honored and delighted, especially since this medal is the first in the history of the Kingdom in the martial arts. “It was the Kingdom’s first international participation. A victory for Bahraini para-athletes in any form of martial arts is, therefore, a historic event and a moment of great honor for all of us”.
The competition is expected to inspire vocations among the Middle Eastern populations and inspire athletes, regardless of gender, ability, or any other prejudice, to take up taekwondo.