Despite a four-year hiatus, Hemin Ali, 39, a Taekwondo player from Tuz Khurmatu district south of Kirkuk, managed to get second place in the Taekwondo national Championship held in Baghdad.
The tournament, held on December 21, was for athletes with special needs, where Ali represented Salahadin province and succeeded in achieving second place.
"Athletes with special needs should be helped," says Hemin. "Personally, I had to secure transportation from my daughter's savings box."
Hemin’s participation came after the fact that he had stopped training since 2017 when his trainers left and he was displaced from the Tuz Khurmatu district following the events of October 16, 2017 – when clashes took place between the forces of the federal government in Baghdad and Erbil-based Kurdistan Regional Government KRG.
“I started practicing Taekwondo in 2005, I always won first or second place in the tournaments I participated in. I got the white, yellow, brown and blue belts... There are only two belts left to win, the red belt and the black belt. "
In 2003, Ali lost one of his hands due to explosion of a roadside bomb. Later, he decided to practice Taekwondo. "The amputation of my hand did not prevent me from following my dream."
Ali won second place in the last national championship held in Baghdad on December 21.
Ali is married and father of three children. He stresses the need to provide support for players with special needs in order to achieve their goals.
"I had to open my daughter's savings box. The sports federations and the government should take these things into account and take care of dreams, aspirations and capabilities of people with special needs."