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1743-Husam F A Azzam photo

Husam F A Azzam

Athletics

Biography

Impairment information

Origin of Impairment
Acquired
Classification
F53

Further personal information

Family
Wife Duha, eight children
Residence
Palestine
Occupation
Athlete
Languages
Arabic

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
He became involved in Para sport in 1998. He would train in school playgrounds in javelin and later shot put in Gaza, Palestine.
Why this sport?
He took up sport as a way of overcoming his impairment. "When my health deteriorated, at the age of three, I was too young to really understand that I was becoming disabled, and so it just became a part of my life. When I realised that I wouldn't be able to move my legs anymore, I decided to overcome my disability through sport. I started as a wheelchair basketball player. Then, when the Palestinian Disabled Sports Federation was established and new sports were added, I chose the shot put because it needs strength and determination."

General interest

Memorable sporting achievement
Winning Palestine's first medal at the Paralympic Games when he claimed bronze in the F53 shot put at the 2000 Games in Sydney. (middleeasteye.net, 19 Sep 2016)
Awards and honours
He was Palestine's flag bearer at the opening ceremonies of the 2008 and 2016 Paralympic Games. (paralympic.org, 05 Sep 2008; myinfo.rio2016.com, 06 Sep 2016)
Milestones
He became the first athlete representing Palestine to win a medal in any sport at the Paralympic Games, when he claimed bronze in the F53 shot put at the 2000 Games in Sydney. (mondoweiss.net, 12 Sep 2016; SportsDeskOnline, 17 Aug 2021)
Impairment
His impairment is a result of the effects of polio. He contracted the illness as an infant. (maannews.com, 14 Oct 2008)
Other information
RETIREMENT AND RETURN
In 2009 he retired from the sport after losing a number of family members, including his first wife, who passed away in childbirth. During this period he was evacuated from his house due to the Gaza–Israel conflict. When he returned to his house, he found it had been bombed and that he had lost most of his medals. He returned to the sport in 2015. "My parents, my wife, and my son had passed away in a short period. That left me in a state of severe grief and isolation. I also lost most of my medals when my house was targeted by an Israeli airstrike during the 2008 war on Gaza. I felt that I had lost everything." He found the bronze medal he won at the 2000 Paralympic Games in Sydney in the rubble following the bombing of his house. "It's my first and favourite medal. I found it with some other medals. In fact, I can't imagine what I would do if I had lost it too. In 2015, I decided to go back to training in order to participate in [the] 2016 Rio Paralympics." (mondoweiss.net, 12 Sep 2016; middleeasteye.net, 19 Sep 2016)

Results

Unit Date Rank
Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games (Beijing, China)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's Shot Put F53/54 Final Round 8
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's Shot Put F53 Final Round 2016-09-14 8