DISABILITY? WHAT DISABILITY?
Sep 12, 2015
There is a famous sporting brand’s tagline that reads ‘Impossible is Nothing’ but one Jordanian sporting hero has taken that to a whole new level!
Triple world record breaking Powerlifter Mu’taz Al Junaidi is one of Jordan’s best loved sports stars, and has been competing on the international stage for two decades.
But his latest venture took him into the unknown and beyond along with a group of people with disabilities to tackle Challenge Mountains with Disability and Hope.
“I want to challenge every single person in Jordan with a disability to overcome their obstacles,” said Junaidi, 39. “This initiative aims to inspire and empower them like never before.”
So what exactly is Challenge Mountains with Disability and Hope?
Well, it is just as it sounds; people with all sorts of disabilities taking on the previously unthinkable. Climbing mountains, riding zip wires and abseiling. It is simply awe inspiring.
“We launched it last week in the Ajlun mountains and the reaction from those taking part has made it all worthwhile,” said Mu’taz. “It sends a clear message to the whole world that people with disabilities can work and think and be part of social activities.
“In fact, there are no people with disabilities; society makes people with disabilities by not providing them with facilities to practice their hobbies and realise their dreams.”
Twenty participants with differing disabilities including physical, hearing and visual impairments participated in a full day of mountain activities.
“It happened for the first time in Jordan, and we are so proud of this initiative and the participants who showed great courage to challenge themselves in such a way,” Mu’taz said.
Mu’taz worked with the local Adrenaline adventure team in setting up the challenges in a safe way, and he himself became the first person to abseil down a 25m rock face in a wheelchair.
“When I became a world champion, I felt that I needed to return something to the community and the people of Jordan who backed me throughout,” he said. “All of us as sportsmen and women are role models and can do more to inspire society, especially the young.”
And he has a clear message to anyone who feels their life stops when suffering a disability to “get yourself ready for a new life that can be fulfilling and adventurous”.
He intends making this an annual event and believes it can grow into something even bigger with the right backing and support.
“The initiative is the voice for voiceless people with disabilities,” he said. “Not even mountains can stop us doing whatever we want to do. It is time to tell people our story and share the spirit of success. I would like to thank everyone who supported it.”