||12 Jan 1989
in Beirut, LBN|
|Weight|| 53 kg|
|Type of Impairment
|Origin of Impairment
Further Personal Information
||Sports Science - University of East London [UEL]: England
Sport Specific Information
|When and where did you begin this sport?
||He began powerlifting at age 16 in London, England.
|Why this sport?
||Friends encouraged him to go to a local gym and a coach there believed he had the potential to compete at an elite level.
||The Showman (telegraph.co.uk, 10 Apr 2018)
||Reading sports autobiographies, supporting English football club Liverpool. (paralympic.org, 13 Jun 2017; Twitter profile, 06 Mar 2019)
|Hero / Idol
||Egyptian powerlifter Sherif Othman. (paralympic.org, 24 Mar 2014)
|Superstitions / Rituals / Beliefs
||He listens to the soundtrack from the film 'Rocky' before every competition. Before lifting he stands on the bench and stares at the bar for 20 seconds. "The ritual makes me focus and get into the zone. On the platform, it is me against the bar and nothing else can affect my performance." (paralympic.org, 13 Jun 2017, 18 Oct 2016)
|Sporting philosophy / motto
||"Why be the best when you can be the greatest?" (Twitter profile, 20 Mar 2015)
|Awards and honours
||He was named Sportsman with an Impairment of the Year at the 2014 and 2015 Leeds Sports Awards in England. (yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk, 14 Mar 2015; paralympics.org.uk, 03 Mar 2014)
He was named the International Paralympic Committee [IPC] Athlete of the Month for April 2014. (paralympic.org, 09 May 2014)
He was named British Weightlifting's Powerlifting Athlete of the Year in 2013. (Facebook page, 20 Nov 2018)
||He was a talented judoka in his early teens. However, there was no judo category for his impairment in the Paralympic Games so he decided to concentrate on powerlifting instead. (yorkvision.co.uk, 09 Oct 2012; bbc.co.uk, 04 Aug 2011)
||To win a gold medal at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk, 23 Feb 2019)
||He was born without legs. (bbc.co.uk, 04 Aug 2011)
He was appointed to the Commonwealth Games England board ahead of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England. "I'm delighted to be joining the Commonwealth Games England board at such an exciting time for the organisation. Representing England at Delhi 2010, Glasgow 2014 and on the Gold Coast [in 2018] have been some of the highlights of my career. It's a real privilege to be offered the chance to be able to give something back to the organisation. I look forward to ensuring we've left no stone unturned to give our team the best possible chance in Birmingham.” (teamengland.org, 31 Jul 2018)
He has been affected by Crohn's disease since 2008, and had part of his intestine removed in 2010. The illness also kept him out of competition for 18 months following the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. He returned to training in 2018, linking up with coach Duncan Ogilvie at the University of East London [UEL] in England, and went on to claim bronze at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, QLD, Australia. "I'm truly lost for words. It was a miracle to even get here, but to come away with a medal is beyond everything I expected. Eighteen months battling Crohn's disease, thinking my career was over. Thank you to everyone that wished me support. It means the world to me." Soon after that performance he was once again affected by the condition after the medication he was taking did not help him, however he is determined to fulfil his dream of winning a Paralympic gold medal. "I am risking my health for this [the gold medal], but I had to think about the dreams I had when I was about six years old. The dreams I had then I still have now and I have to fight for them." (Twitter profile, 09 Apr 2018; bbc.co.uk, 09 Apr 2018; uel.ac.uk, 16 Feb 2018; tottenhamjournal.co.uk, 03 Apr 2013; yorkvision.co.uk, 09 Oct 2012; bbc.co.uk, 04 Aug 2011; yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk, 23 Feb 2019)
CLEAN SPORT ADVOCATE
He served as a UK Anti-Doping Athlete Commission member. "Throughout my career, clean sport has underpinned everything. Everything I do, everything I want my colleagues and competitors to do. Competing cleanly and fairly is the foundation of sport, maintaining its integrity and the reason millions of people around the world love it." (alijawadgb.co.uk, 13 Sep 2018)
FROM LEBANON TO ENGLAND
Born in Lebanon, at age six months his parents relocated the family to London, England. "It was hard enough to bring up kids that didn't have a disability, let alone someone who did. So my parents took the decision that, in order for me to have a normal life, we needed to move away. England was our best option as they provided prosthetic limbs which enabled me to walk." (yorkvision.co.uk, 09 Oct 2012; bbc.co.uk, 04 Aug 2011)