On Thursday, May 26, 2022, the Emirate of Sharjah hosted, for the first time in the United Arab Emirates, Sharjah Qualification Tournament for Hangzhou 2022 Asian Para Games. His Excellency Sheikh Salem bin Abdul Rahman Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Office of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, His Excellency Sheikh Saud bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Director of the Sharjah Digital Office, and His Excellency Ahmed Hamdan Al Zeyoudi, President of the Emirates Taekwondo Federation attended the tournament. His Excellency Tariq Sultan bin Khadem, President of Al-Thiqa Club for the Handicapped, Her Excellency Mona Abdul Karim Al Yafei, Director of Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services (SCHS), and His Excellency Ahmed Salem Al Mazloum, Director of Al Thiqa Club for the Handicapped were present as well.
Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services, the Sharjah Sports Council, the International Taekwondo Federation, the UAE Paralympic Committee, the Emirates Taekwondo Federation, Al Thiqa Club for the Handicapped, and the Sharjah Club for Self-defense Sports collaborated in organizing this sports event.
More than 46 male and female players with disabilities participated in the tournament. Players represented teams of 11 Asian countries: Bahrain, India, Iran, Japan, Kazakhstan, Laos, Mongolia, Nepal, the Philippines, Thailand, and Uzbekistan. They competed under the supervision of 16 referees. The competitions were fierce and enthusiastic. Players, who had a lot of sportsmanship, interacted with the audience and vice versa.
Sharjah Qualification Tournament for Hangzhou 2022 Asian Para Games is an extension of Sharjah's development efforts and initiatives. These efforts stem from the directives and visions of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, in empowering people through its pioneering institutions, especially the Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services. Throughout its journey, the city has contributed to empowering people with disabilities and providing their various needs from a scientific and cognitive standpoint and through a variety of skillful, scientific, sports, social and other means.
The tournament represents an opportunity for participants from various Asian countries to meet and compete honestly. They positively affect the dimensions of the sports, social, health and personal competition and other great goals supported and supervised by Her Excellency Sheikha Jamila bint Muhammad Al Qasimi, President of Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services and Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the tournament.
His Excellency Sheikh Saud bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Director of the Sharjah Digital Office, has said, “Sharjah has always been the first in paying attention to the sports of people with disabilities. It highlights the sportsmanship and determination of participants. The sports events in which they competed represent opportunities to develop their inspiring abilities, and to enhance their partnership in various events.
He added, “We congratulate Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services for hosting this tournament, which is the first of its kind in the Emirate of Sharjah. We appreciate the efforts made by SCHS, whether in organizing Sharjah Qualification Tournament, or for its usual humanitarian programs and activities, and its continuous motivation for athletes with disabilities in various sports. Special thanks also to the various clubs and sports federations participating in this tournament.”
Her Excellency Mona Abdul Karim Al Yafei, Director of Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services, has confirmed the unlimited support of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi to people with disabilities in all fields, including “sports”. The city has achieved an advanced status locally, regionally and globally due to this support.
She said, “The remarkable success of the Emirate of Sharjah in hosting the qualifiers for the Asian Paralympic Games Hangzhou 2022 is not strange or surprising. The Emirate of Sharjah is a forerunner to such successes, which are a gain and a source of pride, not only at the level of the emirate, but also at the state level”.
She pointed to the great role of Her Excellency Sheikha Jamila bint Muhammad Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the Championship, President of Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services, Member of the International Taekwondo Federation Council, in this success. Sheikha Jamila was very keen on the smooth running of the tournament, in accordance with the best international practices.
She added, “Her Excellency Sheikha Jamila Al Qasimi attaches great importance to the sport of persons with disabilities. She believes that Para taekwondo is not just a sport, but also a way of life. It has many ethics and self-empowerment and multiple values and benefits for athletes and their communities. Therefore, hosting this important tournament in Sharjah is a great opportunity to promote Para taekwondo in the region. In turn, this will help us achieve the desired vision”.
For his part, His Excellency Shakir Shalabt, President of Para Taekwondo at the World Taekwondo Federation, praised the global organizational level of the tournament. He confirmed that the secret in this distinction is the great attention paid by Her Excellency Sheikha Jamila bint Muhammad Al Qasimi to all details.
Although not a long time has passed since the inception of the sport of Para Taekwondo, the achievements that been achieved year after year motivate players, coaches and those interested. It confirms that persons with disabilities are able to excel in sports, as they are able to excel in other fields.
For his part, His Excellency Ahmed Hamdan Al Zeyoudi, President of the Emirates Taekwondo Federation, praised the excellent organization of the championship. It indicates the spirit of responsibility that characterizes Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services. He extended his sincerest thanks and appreciation to Her Excellency Sheikha Jamila bint Muhammad Al Qasimi and to all members of the team and partners who contributed to providing this tournament at the global level.
The Vice President of Para Taekwondo at the World Taekwondo Federation, Osman Deldar, thanked Her Excellency Sheikha Jamila bint Muhammad Al Qasimi, President of Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services, Chairman of the Higher Organizing Committee of the tournament, and Member of the Council of the International Taekwondo Federation. He also thanked the hardworking and loyal team that contributed greatly to the success of the tournament, wishing everyone continued success and progress.
At the end of the tournament, the organizers honored the champions and teams, hoping to meet in future tournaments.