Q Life

Qatar’s trail-blazing parathlete

June 2021

Ahmed Bin Ali Al-Shahrani

Ahmed Bin Ali Al-Shahrani is an adaptive athlete, ambassador for Accessible Qatar, and member of Qatar 2022’s Accessibility Forum. An inspiration for many in the field of sport and beyond, he recently spoke to Q Life about his story and track record of breaking boundaries.

Ahmed has been an avid participant of sport from a young age; “from Karate and Kung Fu to football, basketball, track and field, I’ve always loved being active”. Ahmed has also more recently taken up fencing, and through his work with Accessible Qatar, he hopes to make it a more accessible sport to those with disabilities.

One of Ahmed’s most significant achievements is his 200-kilometre journey from the most southern point of Qatar, Abu Samra, to the furthest north, Al Ruwais. This was completed in 41 hours and 55 minutes, as part of Ahmed’s ambition to win the Guinness World Record for the fastest time to complete this journey in a wheelchair; “it was an accomplishment for myself and the Run The World team who supported me throughout the challenge.”

Ahmed has also competed in numerous domestic and international marathons, including a 90-kilometre ultra marathon, and continues to try new sports, such as hand biking. “I love sports that require challenging yourself. They offer something that you can transfer into your everyday life in some way. For example, shooting and fencing train you to practice your focus. I enjoy the challenges of becoming better at a skill day after day.”

Ahmed is incredibly proud of the growth he has seen of the wheelchair community in sports, and the role he has played in encouraging this development; “during the Ooredoo Marathon in 2018, I was the only individual taking part in a wheelchair. In 201,9 we became two, and in 2020, there were six of us. This shows how passion and taking part can become infectious. It shows that there is a way, and I hope this only continues to spread.”

As he continues to succeed across various sporting fields, Ahmed has become a powerful inspiration and advocate for the disabled community. “I represent individuals who are not stereotypically considered athletes, and I am proud to be an example that we can still take part and demonstrate to others that life doesn’t stop because of your disability. We all face difficulties in life, and we all have our own journeys from the starting point to the finish line. This is what makes everyone’s story so unique.”