From Vegetable Seller to Champion Athlete

Paralympic champion Jarrah Nassar lives in Nasiriyah in southern Iraq, where he works hard selling vegetables to provide for his family and cover his ill son’s medical expenses, despite his own physical challenges.

Jarrahs’ physical condition, long work hours and difficult circumstances left him exhausted, but he did not give in to hopelessness. Instead, he faced his challenges with patience and persistence, standing up to those who bullied him and dismissing the looks of pity from people around him.

He trained hard in the courtyard of his father’s modest home, where he lives, to become a world champion in shot put and a hero everyone in Iraq could admire.

Describing his keys to success, Jarrah says: “There is a tremendous source of strength inside each one of us, which stems from our self-confidence. Sports is an ideal path to self-fulfillment and is not restricted to a limited group of people. Anyone can practice any sport and become good at it. Anyone can become a hero and role model for others, provided he is equipped with unbounded determination, which is the key to success. He must work until he achieves his goal, which will inevitably lead to reaching even greater goals.”

Jarrah participated in several international competitions and won many awards, including a gold medal at the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, a gold medal at the 2017 World Para Athletics Championships in London and a silver medal at the 2020 Summer Paralympics in Tokyo, Japan. His latest and most important achievement, however, was receiving the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Award.

Jarrah visits Dubai often to participate in competitions, and he describes his relationship with the UAE as being always “associated with joy, success and achievements”.

“I was honored to receive the award named after His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the first innovator,” he said. “It is the most important sports award in the world given to creative champions, and I am humbled to be one of them.”