Bronze and silver Paralympic medallist Husam Azzam from Gaza is the sole athlete from Palestine to qualify for the Rio 2016 Paralympics, which begins today.
Shot putter Azzam is in a wheelchair and has trained in challenging conditions in the besieged Gaza Strip to prepare for the competition. His wheelchair is homemade and the metal balls he trains with are rusty, whilst the sandy playground Azzam uses for practice does not meet international standards.
Palestine made its debut at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games. Azzam became the first Palestinian athlete to compete in the Paralympics and won a bronze medal. In 2004 he secured silver in Athens, Greece, making him Palestine’s most successful Paralympian in individual events. In total, Palestine has won three medals at the Paralympic Games.