Paralympic Games
24 August - 5 September 2021

Pace drives Tunisia’s Walid Ktila to dizzying heights

‘Awareness is a key for change and every time I win a medal, or my teammates, we get heard’ 04 Sep 2021
Wheelchair racer Walid Ktila celebrates with the Tunisian flag after winning the 800m
Walid Ktila won two golds at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games
ⒸGetty Images
By ND Prashant I For the IPC

Gold in London 2012, gold in Rio 2016 and double gold in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, Walid Ktila seems unstoppable. While that is an exceptional record already, Tunisian ace Para athlete Ktila is in no mood to rest on his laurels and wants to just keep going as fast as he can.

“I just love doing what I do, and I love the sport. I love to practice and getting better times. That’s the secret of my success,” said a delighted Ktila, after his 800m T34 win with a time of 1:45.50.

“I am hyper happy now. I worked hard to achieve this. Getting two gold medals at the Paralympic Games is an honour for me and my country,” said Ktila, adding that, he was really desperate to get the 800m title under his belt as he has been eyeing the title for a while.

“It’s a different victory as this is in the 800 metres. Strength, energy, tactics are different.

“It was difficult with the rain and the other athletes. I got some difficulties to overcome my opponents on the last 400 metres. Rain forced me to change my tactics.”

Finishing second was UAE’s Mohamed Al Hammadi with a timing of 1:45.59, while China’s Yang Wang claimed bronze with a season’s best of 1:45.68.

Ktila had earlier clocked 15.01 seconds, breaking his previous Paralympic record (15.14sec) for gold in the men's 100m T34 race.

With this victory, he has swelled the Tunisia’s gold medal tally to 11: four gold, five silver and two bronze.  

Ktila dedicated his victory to his mother Sadiha, who has stood beside him through thick and thin.

“She has been the person behind my success. She raised me as a normal child and always made me believe I can achieve anything. That support has taken me places and I would like to tell everyone that all we need is support.

“If you can give that to your child, then he or she can do wonders,” said Ktila, who also acknowledged the role played by the Tunisian government in the development of Para sport.

“Lots have changed. I wouldn’t say that we are way ahead but there is good level of support. So more can be done. Hopefully, these medals from our athletes will trigger a wider movement. If we can do that, then I will consider this medal has a huge success.”

Ktila’s consistency in the sport has also made him very popular in his country and he wants to give it back by involving himself in more awareness related work.

“People do come to me and ask about how to get into Para sports. They know me and there are kids who want to emulate me which is a good sign. Awareness is a key for change and every time I win a medal, or my teammates, we get heard. It’s a opportunity and I would like to keep doing that again and again.”