Iraqi Para shuttlers keen to make a mark after international debut in Dubai

Team coach aims for his players to rise to the top of the rankings among the Arab countries and in the West Asian region 24 May 2022
Eight athletes and staff of the Iraqi Para badminton team pose for a photo near the court.
The six-athlete Iraqi Para badminton team are picking up crucial lessons at the Fazza Dubai Para Badminton International on the way to ambitious goals.
ⒸFazza Dubai 2022 LOC / Dubai Club for People of Determination
By Fazza Dubai 2022 LOC and Dubai Club for People of Determination

Iraq's Para badminton player Karrar Hayder Abbas Ghalwah might have lost his opening match at the ongoing 4th Fazza Dubai Para Badminton International 2022 on 24 May, but as he did so, he still beamed with confidence.

Ghalwah and the five other members of the Iraqi team are participating for the first time in an international event after their appearance in the continental West Asia Para Games held in Manama, Bahrain in February 2022. 

Ghalwah was happy to take away the positives from the experience - the lessons, which he said will make him a better player.

“It was great to play on these courts. I was really excited. More than the result, it was about competing here,” said Ghalwah, who competes in the WH2 category and has a bronze medal in the men’s doubles event from the West Asia Para Games.
“This (the Fazza Championships) is a high-level competition. And we have the top players competing in almost all the categories. 

“I am here to watch every player playing and learn their game than just getting medals,” said Ghalwah who lost to Australia’s Grant Manzoney in his opening Group A match.

His team member, 23-year-old Ali Alasadi, the SL3 player competing in the men’s singles and doubles events, is also eager get good results in the upcoming events.

A wheelchair tennis player for the last eight years, Ali is inspired by Roger Federer and wants to make his country proud with his performance. 

Big ambition

The Iraq Para Badminton Federation was formed only three months back. And coach Ali Saihood has big goals for his players:

“I want my players to be at top of the rankings among the Arab countries and in the West Asian region. I know it’s a long way to go for them until we reach our dream, but they are ready to keep trying and work hard.”

“We are taking one step at a time,” he added.

Mohammed Talib, president of the Iraq Para Badminton Federation, said the last two and a half months training before the Fazza Championships were not easy as the players lived in different cities in Iraq, "but everything was worth (it) after coming here to the Championships".

"Competing in Championships like this one will help them become better players and set their future goals.

“I hope we have more players, including women, joining the sport in the near future. Our aim will be to participate in major championships. The players' performance here will definitely motivate youngsters back home.”

On the Fazza Championships, coach Saihood added: “The competition is very strong at the Fazza Championships and my players are in the learning process. A big thank you to the organising committee for the generosity and spirit. We are so happy to be here and competing.”