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Tottenham powerlifter hoping for a change of luck in Paralympics
6:02pm Tuesday 28th August 2012 in Local Sport
Great Britain powerlifter Ali Jawad feels his luck at the Paralympics is due to change when he takes to the platform at ExCeL on Friday.
The 23-year-old, from Tottenham, will compete in the Under-56kg event, four years after contracting Crohn's disease on the eve of the Beijing Games.
Jawad finished ninth in China and decided to retire because of the condition, an inflammation of the gut that can cause diarrhoea and abdominal pains.
However, after an operation in 2010 his self-belief was restored enough to compete in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, and after a fifth-place finish in India he is looking forward to London 2012.
“I probably have a point to prove to myself more than anything – that I can beat the disease,” said Jawad, who was born in Lebanon but moved to London as a child.
“I really think I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been and it’s taken four years to get to this stage. I have struggled through a lot and I have to hope I get some luck now – I’m due some now. Hopefully that will be on Friday.
“I had the operation in 2010 to take out part of my intestine, and it got to that stage where I had not competed since Beijing. So it was two years since I’d competed and I thought, I can’t do this, the Crohn’s is going to beat me no matter what.
“I’d given it everything and it just wasn't happening. So I had to retire.
“Then, after the operation, I thought, I can qualify for Delhi. The standard wasn't as high as the Paralympics so I thought I could give it a go.
“I had had this dream since I was about 15 that we could do something quite special in 2012 and I didn't want to retire and regret it, because then it would be too late.
“I didn’t want London 2012 to pass by thinking I should have been there and I didn’t give it everything I had. Win or lose on Friday, I want to walk away knowing I have given it my best shot.”
Jawad described Sherif Othman of Egypt as the outstanding candidate for the gold medal in his category.
“At this stage, where I have I lost so much training time, I know I’m not going to get the gold medal,” he said.
“Also, the Egyptian is like the Usain Bolt of our sport: you don't catch him, especially as someone who is quite sick and has only trained consistently for one year of the last four.
“But where I am at the moment, I have a very good chance of being competitive in that ‘A’ group and anything can happen in there on the day. For me, any medal will be a gold medal."
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