Throwback Thursday: South Africa’s Achmat Hassiem

London 2012 bronze medallist now divides his time between protecting sharks, body building and movie of his life. 17 Aug 2017 By IPC

“Para sports taught me to love more, smile more, to be fair and to never give up on my dreams, no matter what they may be.”

Following his performance at Rio 2016, South African Achmat Hassiem decided to put an end to his swimming career which saw him claim one bronze over three Paralympic Games.

“I feel that as a Paralympic Athlete I have achieved more than I could possibly have dreamed of,” he said. “Paralympic sport and the Movement have given me so much to be grateful for. I will always be a Proud Paralympian.

“I got the opportunity to represent my country at three Paralympic Games and bring a medal back from London 2012.

“Also, it gave me the opportunity to see the world and meet other incredible athletes like Brazilians Andre Brasil and Phelipe Rodrigues, GB’s Ellie Simmons, USA’s Jessica Long and Justin Zook, and South Africa’s Kevin Paul, Reinhardt Hamman and Arnu Fourie.

Since making his international debut, Hassiem has learned many things that go way beyond the pool. “I learned to be grateful, enjoy life and every opportunity given to you, and to be kind to others. Also, to be an inspiration to others, help them achieve their goals and motivate them to be their best and most importantly enjoy the sport.

“Para sports taught me to love more, smile more, to be fair and to never give up on my dreams, no matter what they may be.”

With his swimming career now part of a bright past, Hassiem decided to focus on his other passions.

Despite losing part of his right leg to a white shark while at the Muizenberg beach in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2006, he has become an “Ocean Conservationist and Global Sharks Guardian for the United Nations Save Our Sharks Coalition.”

Hassiem is also a “motivational speaker and content provider on YouTube,” as well as a body builder. “After swimming I decided to get into body building to stay fit,” the ‘Shark boy’ explained.

“I do get into the pool now and then just to satisfy my love of missing the sport. I thought, as a swimmer with big broad shoulders, I should not let this go to waste.

“It (body building) has always been something I enjoyed watching while growing up. People like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Plus, I get to stay in a swim costume haha Hopefully, if I choose to go pro, as right now I’m just doing it for me and to keep my body in shape.”

But that is not everything Hassiem is involved with, as he mentions a movie of his amazing life may be in early stages of production.

“There are talks of a movie, yes. The idea is not mine, nor am I acting, but I am hoping to get my two minutes of fame in the end. Release date has not been confirmed yet,” he said.