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Asian Games 2018

Palestinian cyclist’s dream to compete at the Asian Games is denied twice

Cyclist Alaa Al-Daly has his Asian Games dream shattered after his right leg is amputated following a protest in Gaza but his chance of participating in the Asian Para Games also vanished

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 11 October, 2018, 4:11pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 October, 2018, 4:14pm

Palestinian cyclist Alaa Al-Daly was given a second chance of competing at the Asian Para Games, but was denied after he was rejected permission to leave his country.

The 21-year-old from Gaza was due to compete at the regional Games in the individual time trial in Jakarta after his dream of competing in August’s Asian Games was shattered earlier this year.

Al-Daly, 21, had his right leg amputated after being shot during the first day of the ‘Great Return March’ protests in the Gaza Strip, which began on March 30.

His story was widely reported and on seeing this, the Asian Paralympic Committee (APC) set about contacting him to see if he would instead compete at the Asian Para Games, which are underway in Jakarta.

The APC secured entry into the Games for Al-Daly and his coach, arranged the necessary racing permits from the International Cycling Union (UCI) and booked his flight.

Al-Daly was originally set to arrive in Jakarta on October 1, leaving enough time for him to be classified, the process in para-sport that groups athletes together into sport classes to ensure a level playing field, and to march in the opening ceremony on October 6.

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However, Al-Daly’s departure for Jakarta was delayed as he was unable to secure a permit to travel, meaning that he missed his chance to march in the opening ceremony and won’t be able to compete in Indonesia.

APC president Majid Rashed said: “It is frustrating that despite our best efforts, including changing his flight four times, we haven’t managed to bring Al-Daly out here to compete and let him experience the world of para-sport. We will continue to work with the Paralympic Committee of Palestine to ensure he has opportunities in the future.”

There is one other Palestinian athlete competing at the Games, Mahmoud Zohud. He will compete in para-athletics throwing events.