Despite being diagnosed with polio as a child, powerlifter Ahmed Shafik eventually became an athlete for the Iraqi Paralympic team. But because his country’s Olympic committee was disappointed with his performance, he was jailed for one year. After being released, he fled Iraq and moved to the United States as a refugee. Eventually he became an American citizen and soldier, and today is a member of the U.S. Paralympic team.
Now in his early 40s, he has reacquainted himself with the sport and concluded his career as a powerlifter by coming in sixth place during the men’s competition at the Rio 2016 Paralympics earlier this month.
“We are proud that he represented the USA,” says his couch, Mary Hodge, calling him “a hard-working, dedicated athlete who sets high goals and [works] hard to achieve them.”
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