Somalia’s first Paralympian aims to promote Para sports

After competing at his first Paralympic Games in Rio, Farhan Adawe is hoping to “open many doors” for people with impairment to take up sports in his country. 14 Nov 2016
Farhan Adawe

Farhan Adawe

ⒸNPC Somalia

“I see myself competing at future Paralympic Games and I will do my best to improve in the lead-up to Tokyo 2020.

Farhan Adawe believes becoming Somalia’s first Paralympian ever at Rio 2016 is only the first step to developing Para sports in the country and will help “open many doors” for people with impairment to get involved with the Movement.

The 19-year-old wheelchair racer competed in the men’s 100m T52, finishing fifth in round 1 with an African-record time of 18.49 but was unable to qualify for the final.

“Competing at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games alongside the world’s best athletes, all united by their passion for sports, was big for me,” said Adawe.

“I could run on new tracks and see how good other athletes were.

“The 100m is my strongest event and running at the Olympic Stadium was a magical experience for me. I performed well, learned a lot from it and know that I can also improve a lot from now on.”

As his country’s sole representative, Adawe also carried Somalia’s flag at both the Opening and the Closing Ceremonies.

“It was such a huge honour and two of my favourite moments of the Paralympics, as well as living at the Olympic Village with people from all over the world, the crowded Olympic Park and how friendly Brazilian volunteers and people in general were,” he said.

Adawe lives in Turin, Italy, where he arrived with his aunt at an early age to seek medical attention that he could not get in Somalia.

“Italy is such a welcoming country, living here it is fantastic,” he said.

“It is my second home and I am happy to have stayed here. I also sometimes visit my family in Mogadishu, Somalia, where most of my relatives live.”

Whilst watching the London 2012 Paralympic Games on TV, Adawe got inspired by the Para athletes’ extraordinary performances and decided he wanted to become one as well.

“I talked to my physical education teacher from school and he started training me. I have not stopped since,” he said.

After competing at some events in Italy, Adawe’s first experience competing abroad came at the Paralympic Games in Rio. “I worked hard and dreamed about this. I am very satisfied with my performance,” he said.

“Now I see myself competing at future Paralympic Games and I will do my best to improve in the lead-up to Tokyo 2020.

“But I also want to promote Para sports in Somalia, and hopefully open many doors.”