Despite the pitfalls .. Paralympic Hussam Azzam raises the name of Palestine in Tokyo – (photos and video)

“Al-Quds Al-Arabi”: “A tragic life” is the most faithful description of the life of the Palestinian player Husam Azzam, who suffers from hemiplegia from birth, and who participated in the summer Paralympic Games held in the Japanese capital, Toko. The plight of Azzam, who is forty years old, lives in the Gaza Strip and is the father of eight children, has been embodied in his exposure to many pitfalls in his life, which have had the greatest impact in hindering his sports career, although he is the first and almost the only one who managed to give Palestine a bronze medal at the 2000 Paralympic Olympic Games in Sydney, in Australia, as well as a number of medals won in other matches, varied between Brazil, Beijing, Tokyo and Athens, in subsequent periods from 1996 to 2016. During the third Israeli war in the Gaza Strip in 2014, the house of its neighbors was exposed The bombing and destruction caused partial damage to the house in where he lives, and when he returned there, he could not find the medals he had obtained, besides breaking a crystal medal he had obtained in one of his holdings in France. The biggest accident that has made a difference in his life is the loss of his wife to a terminal illness that depleted his body before ending his life, followed by the birth of his 14-year-old daughter with atrophy of the tears, and finally, his son Kamal (24) was seriously injured in Lo he presented during the rallies that denounced the decision of former US President Donald Trump to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel. The harsh situations that have divided the back of Azzam, who lives in a house in rent in the refugee camp of Jabalia (north), and supports his family with a modest salary guaranteed by the late Palestinian president Yasser Arafat and is the only source of income for his family, did not stop him from continuing his education in order to to realize his dream of participating in the Paralympics, which is currently taking place, despite the limited possibilities available to him to receive the necessary training. However, he had to stop training for long periods which lasted for several months, which doubled his feeling of losing hope of being able to regain strength to participate in international competitions. Due to the scarcity of gyms through which to develop his skills in “round” sports, he was forced to rely almost entirely on himself, as he devotes hours of his time daily to training and exercise, accompanied by two coaches that accompanied him at different time intervals. The siege, the shortage of capacity and the lack of sporting attention by the competent authorities towards groups with disabilities, whatever their cause, are not all that Azzam suffered, who had to leave the Gaza Strip. , with great difficulty due to the suffering faced by the residents of the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing, at the beginning of August / this August, to participate in the Tokyo Paralympic Games, using a chair that does not have the specific standard appropriate for players like him. In order to participate in the current Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020), Azzam joined the Paralympic team by participating in the tournament that took place in Tunisia last March, which qualified him to reach what is known among athletes as the “qualifying” number, which gives him the opportunity to participate in Japan. The period that Azzam spent in training since receiving the invitation to participate in Tunisia and from the arrival in Tokyo, which amounted to only five months, is, according to the training times available to his peers, a small number. Despite the decision of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the Supreme Council for Youth and Sports and the Palestinian Paralympic Committee, to establish new gyms that would allow the Paralympics in Gaza to receive the necessary training, the imposition of the siege and the lack of capacity prevented the availability of the necessary training equipment. Hossam Azzam finished eighth and last during the current Paralympic Games, but his insistence on achieving greater results in the coming periods, with the desire to develop the sporting condition of Paralympic players remains before his eyes.

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