Ali Jawad: Stuck on an island with Paralympians

Leading up to the IPC Powerlifting World Championships, the British lifter highlights five of his favourite Paralympians. 24 Mar 2014
Ali Jawad

Great Britain's Ali Jawad reacts after a lift in front of his home crowd at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

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By Ali Jawad

Ali Jawad will compete at the IPC Powerlifting World Championships, which run from

Heading into April’s IPC Powerlifting World Championships – the biggest competition for us since the London 2012 Paralympics – I’ve had some time to reflect on the Paralympic Movement’s growth as a whole.

That includes the rising profiles of many of the world’s leading para-athletes we have come to know very well. With that being said, I thought I would give you my perspective on some of these para-athletes in a fun way.

So, if I were stuck on an island, the five Paralympians who I would want with me are:

Louise Hunt (Great Britain, wheelchair tennis)

I met Louise at the London 2012 Paralympics. She became my daily hangout buddy and we would talk about absolutely anything. Even though my Games ended in disappointment, Louise made me feel better by making me laugh with her bubbly personality, her smile, and her constant happiness with life. Therefore, on an island she’d be the person that would entertain me, and I could never get bored of her.

Jessica Long (USA, swimming)

She was the face of the US Paralympic team at London 2012 and arguably one of the most famous Paralympic athletes in the world. She has won an incredible 12 Paralympic gold medals. I would love to meet her properly one day to talk about her story of encouragement, determination and never-give-up attitude. On an island, Jessica could be very useful using her swimming speed to catch fish, and I’m sure she would love that pressure as she seems to handle pressure so easily during major championships.

Alan Oliveira (Brazil, athletics)

It was the biggest surprise at the London 2012 Paralympics when he beat Oscar Pistorius in the 200m T44 final. He has become the face of the Brazilian Paralympic team. Oliveira’s underdog story would be a great inspiration to me, as I consider myself an underdog going to the IPC Powerlifting World Championships. He could advise me on what it takes to overcome the favourites in his event. On an island, I could use Oliveira’s land speed to capture pray for food such as meat. Being a powerlifter, meat is my main source of protein.

Sherif Othman (Egypt, powerlifting)

I don’t really have role models, but if I had to pick one, Othman would be the athlete I admire the most. He is a two-time Paralympic champion and arguably one of the strongest lifters in the world, lifting an amazing 207kg at 56kg bodyweight. I had the privilege of competing against him in London, and over the last two years he has always had something good to say about me. On the island, Othman could use his super strength to lift heavy material to help build a boat, so we can get off the island.

Natasha Baker (Great Britain, equestrian)

Natasha won two gold medals at London 2012. I will forever remember when I arrived in the village after the disappointment of my event, she was the first person to give me a hug and reassure me that I am capable of coming back stronger. Natasha’s winning attitude and hard work ethic makes her ideal to be around. On the island, Natasha’s intelligence could be key in helping us get off the island. On my birthday, Natasha and I shook hands and we promised each other that by the end of this year, we would both have world titles. I really hope I can keep my end of promise.