Bahraini young para-athletes, Noora Yusuf Zainal and Rawan Ismaeel AlSaad won first (gold) and third (bronze) positions at the first Arab Open Online Para Poomsae Taekwondo Championship held on June 20 and 21, 2020. The competition was organised by the Dubai Police People of Determination Council and UAE Taekwondo Federation, and under the supervision of the Arab Taekwondo Federation. The winners were mentored under the able guidance of internationally accomplished Bahraini Taekwondo athlete Fajar Al-BinAli, a recipient of the Order of National Action Royal Medal from His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.
As the first open championship for Arab Para Poomsae athletes, the main purpose of the competition was to make its initial steps towards the inclusion of specially-abled athletes into competitive Taekwondo and to gauge performance levels as well as the actual numbers of participating special athletes in the Arab region.
A total of 47 contestants, including 19 female contestants, from 6 Arab countries participated in this virtual competition which was conducted through online submissions of the athletes’ Poomsae performances and a live online assessment of the submissions.
Fajar Al-BinAli, female coach and athlete representing Bahrain for the last 7 years in Taekwondo, 2019: US Open & Asian Cities Champion, and winner of the Silver medal in World Beach Taekwondo Championship, said: “It is a great honour and pleasure to coach such able and competitive athletes. This was the first international participation as well as a win for Bahraini para-athletes in any martial art form, and therefore a historic event and a moment of great honour for all of us.”
She added, “Martial arts require a deep level of commitment, training, discipline and determination. Both Noora and Rawan have excelled my expectations on these parameters and I believe they have set themselves as role models for others in pursuit of this sport.” “I am a true believer in inclusion in sport and would like to take this opportunity to thank His Highness Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa who has continued to inspire athletes without gender, ability or any other biases, and His Highness Shaikh Salman bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, President of the Bahrain Combat Sports Council, for his untiring efforts toward the continued development of Martial Arts in the Kingdom.”
Fajar has been selected as the face of the Bahrain Olympic committee “Protect Yourself to bring back the Golden Era” which was featured in the website of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC), and wanted to contribute vividly to the promotion of staying at home while keeping active amidst the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
Both Noora and Rawan are students of Sport to Door Free Spirit Dojang located at the Riyadat Mall, Aali, founded by Fajar Al-BinAli. Athletes are rigorously trained at the Sport to Door facilities under the tutelage of trained experts, including Fajar’s long time club coaches Master Waseem Ahmed and Master Adel Al Shamlan.