Palestine’s Paralympics II

Here’s some pictures from the reception held yesterday evening in Parliament Square, Westminster, London, for the Paralympian team, their coaches, officials and supporters. (See Britain Opens its Doors...3 September, below.)

Fannouna, Zakout, the Palestinian Ambassador, and the Palestinian Paralympic Chairman, along with Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn, listening to a tribute from the Liberal Democrat’s Deputy Leader, Simon Hughes.

It was sponsored by Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn and the Palestinian Ambassador, Manuel Hassassian, and addressed by Murad Qureshi, a member of the London Assembly (see Palestine’s Olympic Triumph II, 30 July, below), who described the tribulations of trying to enter Gaza on his first-ever trip to Palestine, as well as the hassles he encountered at the airport in Cairo! Continue reading


Britain Opens its Doors…and Hearts…to Palestine’s Paralympians

Half-way through the Paralympic 2012 Games in London, Palestine’s two participants, 47-year-old Khamis Zaqout and 32-year-old Muhammed Fannouna, are being feted and celebrated by the great and the good, as well as the huge, enthusiastic audiences who are turning out to watch them compete in the shotput, discus, javelin, long-jump, 100- and 200-metre athletics events. While Zaqout fell just 4 centimeters (!!!) short of taking a bronze medal in the shotput last Friday, team officials remain confident that there will be a Palestinian on the podium by the end of the Games on 9 September.

The athletes, their coaches, and the Chairman of the Palestinian Paralympic
Committee, Akram Okkeh, toured the British Parliament on Thursday, 30 August.
Photo: UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Tonight, a special, high-level reception is being held for the team at London’s Portcullis House in Westminster, across from the Houses of Parliament and “Big Ben.” Politicians, diplomats, officials, journalists, activists, supporters and members of the public have been invited by MP Jeremy Corbyn and the Palestinian Ambassador, Professor Manuel Hassassian, to cheer them on, and to help put Palestine “on the map” at a time when the world’s eyes are once again on London. (Corbyn hosted another reception in July at the London Assembly for the Palestinian Olympic team. See “Palestine’s Olympic Triumph II”, 30 July, below.) Continue reading

Palestine’s Olympic Triumph II

Here’s more pictures, following on from the story last week about the Palestinian Olympic team, below, which has gone round the world!

Members of Palestine’s Olympic team, including the two track athletes, Baha’a Al Farra (men’s 400m) and Woroud Sawalha (women’s 800m) as well as swimmer Sabine Hazboun, parade during the opening ceremony on Friday, 27 July. Photograph: Reuters

. . . And the team, coaches and officials being received at London City Hall by MP Jeremy Corbyn and supporters just prior to the opening of the Games. They were one of the few national teams to be scored such an honour.

The team being welcomed to the offices of London’s mayor and assembly, 26 July.

Coming up: The Paralympics, which start here in London on Wednesday, 29 August, where two athletes from Gaza, Khamis Zakout and Muhammad Fanouna, will be competing.

Here’s a picture of javelin thrower, Hussam Fares Azzam, who made history when he won Palestine’s first ever Olympic medal at the Paralympic Games in Sydney in 2000, and then followed this up by winning a silver medal in Athens in 2004!

Hussam Fares Azzam, training in Gaza. Photograph:

By the way, the theme picture above shows the first Gaza Marathon, held in 2011. (See Gaza Marathon, Archives, June, 2011. It was won earlier this year by runner Nader al-Masri, who carried the Palestinian flag in Athens. (See Editor’s Note, 4 July, below.)

Thanks for looking!


© Pamela Ann Smith

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