16 April 2018
Jawad gunning for Paralympic gold after unlikely Commonwealth success
Ali Jawad should not even have been in Australia but after winning Commonwealth bronze there is nothing that can hold back the para powerlifter.
Jawad has been battling Crohn’s Disease and came close to retiring in 2017 as he struggled to get over the illness.
However he set himself the target of competing in Gold Coast and the 29-year-old did more than that, taking bronze before celebrating in acrobatic fashion.
Even now he is not fully healthy, but Jawad is hopeful that he will be able to compete at his best by the end of this year.
Looking back at it, it’s one of my greatest performances.
"I shouldn't even be here"
He said: “Even though weight wise it wasn’t the heaviest I’ve lifted in competition but with the circumstances leading up to it, I shouldn’t even have been here.
“For me to make it and perform like that, it’s up there with one of my best performances. Usually when I do flare I come back pretty quickly, this time it took me 18 months.
“Not only did I flare trying to come back but I flared again. That’s never happened to me, so it’s a different challenge this time.
“That prolonged my comeback, I’m still recovering now. I’m not fully healthy, it’s going to take a while. I think hopefully I might be fully healthy for the next six months.
“I knew the Commonwealth Games were coming and I knew the only way to fight Crohn’s was to aim for something.
“I motivate myself by aiming for something. Even though it was an unrealistic task to think I was going to make it, it gave me the motivation to wake up every day and try to fight it. If it wasn’t for the Commonwealth Games being here, especially in Australia because I have never been, I don’t think I’d have fought as hard as I fought to come back.”
Roaring his way to Commonwealth bronze
After Commonwealth bronze, Jawad has a different colour medal in mind for the Tokyo Paralympics in two years’ time.
And while gold would require victory over one of the greatest lifters of all time, Egypt’s Sherif Othman, that is the goal Jawad is setting himself.
“The challenge is to get that gold medal in Tokyo,” he added.
“I’ve always said in the past that for me 200kg has been the weight that makes you a legend in our sport, especially in the lighter weights. So it has to be 200kg to even have a chance to beat him.
“That’s the lift.”
The Paralympics is the one goal I’ve dreamt of. I’ve won the Europeans, I’ve won the worlds and it’s the one I want the most but it’s the hardest one because I’m up against arguably the greatest lifter ever.
A journey of belief
Jawad has needed more support than most to get to these Games, and after picking up his medal he was quick to thank those who have made his participation possible.
He said: “British Weightlifting, the world class programme, they’ve had a lot of faith that I can come back and they’ve given me everything in their powers to help me in my recovery.
“They check on me every day, they go above and beyond just to make sure I’m okay. If it wasn’t for them and my family and friends to rally behind me, because sometimes I do doubt myself, especially when it keeps happening.
“You need other people actually to say: ‘We believe in you, you’ve done it before and you can do it again. We’re here to support you’ and that’s what they have given me.”
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