Paralympic Games
24 August - 5 September 2021

Abdulla Sultan Alaryani defies pressure to take first Tokyo 2020 gold for UAE

'The onus was on us to perform and shine at the Paralympic Games. This medal is for our leadership and UAE community' 04 Sep 2021
A man in a wheelchair waving in a shooting competition with a rifle
Abdulla Sultan Alaryani celebrates UAE's first gold medal at Tokyo 2020 in the R7 - men’s 50m rifle 3 positions SH1
ⒸHiroki Nishioka for World Shooting Para Sport

The pressure was on Abdulla Sultan Alaryani of the United Arab Emirates to restore national pride following the failure of able-bodied shooters at Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

He did not falter as he delivered UAE’s first gold medal of the Paralympic Games by winning the R7- Mixed 50m Air Rifle Positions SH1.

“After our able-body athletes returned empty-handed from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the onus was on us to perform and shine at the Paralympic Games. This medal is for our leadership and UAE community,” said Alaryani, who also struck gold at London 2012.

The seasoned star was a member of his country’s able-bodied shooting team in 2000, before a car crash in 2001 left him paralysed below the waist.

Now he believes his gold medal will bring hope to his country and the countrymen after finishing with 453.6 points, 0-9 points ahead of Rio 2016 champion Laslo Suranji (452.9) and Korean Youngjip Shim (442.2). 

“This surely was the toughest game I have ever played in my life. This is one of the biggest things that has happened to me.

“And this time I’m even more happy than ever after the challenges I’ve been through in the last four years in my physical and technical aspect.  I wasn’t sure if I could sustain the score, I made in my previous Paralympics but I made it. I am very satisfied and proud of myself.”

Alaryani went a step further than his Rio 2016  runner-up while Suranji had to settle for the silver.  He earned a pat on the back from UAE Paralympic vice president Majid Rashed.

“It is a big day in UAE Paralympic history. This is the first gold for the nation in the Tokyo 2020 Games. We are very happy that Alaryani could show yet again that age is just a number and that he is the best in the business as he won the gold after his London 2012 title,” Rashed said.

“We hope that this gold will inspire many youngsters to take up Para sports not just in the UAE but in entire West Asian region, and in way develop the movement. We congratulate Abdulla, his coaches, family and everyone in the Federation for their support in his journey.”

Alaryani now turns his attention to Hangzhou 2022 Asian Para Games and Al Ain 2022 World Shooting Para Sport Championship.

“But all my focus will be on Paris 2024 Paralympic Games”