A British Paralympic athlete who won a silver medal at Rio 2016 has revealed how his parents refused an offer to kill him.
Ali Jawad was born in Lebanon without legs, prompting a doctor to ask his parents if they wanted him to end their son’s life.
But his mother and father refused and decided that regardless of his disability he should have a fulfilling life.
‘Kill you off’
Jawad qualified for the Paralympics in Beijing and London but missed out on a medal. In 2014 he became world champion and on Friday won a silver medal in Brazil in powerlifting.
In an interview with The Guardian, he said he had not heard the full story of his life in Lebanon until he was a teenager.
“I asked my dad and he said: ‘Yeah, we had to sacrifice a lot to get here. When you were born the doctor wanted to kill you off – he actually asked the question.'”
Jawad added: “Disabled people back then were second-class citizens in Lebanon.”
He explained that his parents felt differently: “No matter my impairment and disability they wanted the best life possible for me.
“They knew they had to move away from Lebanon to give me a chance”, Jawad said.
In Beijing he became ill and was later diagnosed with Crohn’s disease – a condition that causes inflammation of the digestive system.
Despite the health problems he returned to training and set his focus on Rio where he won a silver medal in the -59kg event.