Many Iraqi Paralympians have acquired their disabilities as a result of the ongoing conflict in the nation, where athletes and para-athletes alike are struggling to practice sports.
Nonetheless, Iraq has produced several successful para-athletes who have brought home a gold, three silver and four bronze Paralympic medals, compared to the country's single bronze Olympic medal.
Ahmed Khalaf earned the nation’s first Paralympic medal at Barcelona 1992, a bronze for the discus throw in the limb impairment category. Since then, Iraq has found Paralympic success in athletics and powerlifting.
The Iraqi Paralympic Committee has announced that it is sending fifteen athletes to compete among the estimated 4,000 athletes expected at the Rio 2016 Paralympics, which will kick off on Sep. 7.
Six Iraqi Paralympians are headed to the athletics event:
- Kovan Hasan Abdulraheem, Javelin Throw (Short Stature F41)
- Abbas Hatem Jabr, 400 meter race (Coordination Impairment T38)
- Zahraa Najah, Discus Throw (No movement in the lower limbs F55)
- Woldan Nizar Hussein, Javelin Throw (Short Stature F41)
- Garrah Nassar Tnaiash, Shot Put (Short Stature F40)
- Ahmad Ghani Naas, Javelin Throw (Short Stature F40)
While Rasool Mohsin and Kassem Al-Tameemi will be powerlifting in Rio.
With Ammar Hadi, Haidar Ali Nasser and Zainalabdin Ghilan Hasan competing in wheelchair fencing.
Jawad Joudah will take part in swimming and Garrah Khraybat in blind judo.
While Jawad Kathem Ali and Zaman Hussein will pull out their bows for archery.
Additionally, Iraqi referee Mezher Ghanem has been selected to officiate at his third consecutive Paralympic weightlifting tournament.
The Iraqi NPC has high hopes for its 2016 delegation and expects better results than the two silvers and one bronze won at the London 2012 Paralympics. Still, it has complained about limited resources, having not received the annual funds it was promised.