With less than two weeks to go until the 2016 Paralympic Games, where the GB squad hope to follow on from the Olympic squad's incredible achievements in Rio, Commonwealth Powerlifting bronze medallist Ali Jawad is fully focused on a podium finish, but believes that the next two years will be vital for para-sport globally.

In the build up to the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, it has been announced that the largest-ever para-sport programme in Commonwealth Games history will be showcased at Gold Coast 2018.


Vital for para-sport

The Games will comprise of up to 300 para-athletes contesting 38 medal events across seven sports. Jawad, 27, believes that this will help increase audiences for not only the Commonwealth Games, but also para-sports.
“I think that having para-sports alongside the able-bodied events is great.

There is a lot of debate about if the Olympics and Paralympics should be together and I necessarily don’t believe in that because I think we lose our identity as para-athletes if that happens. However, the Commonwealth Games has the flexibility about it where it can happen and is possible so it’s fantastic.

“If you have world-wide superstars like Jonnie Peacock in the Paralympic world coming to compete at the Commonwealth Games you are going to attract massive audiences. The able-bodied and para events will all be equal and as much of a sell-out which will be great.”

Following on from his bronze medal at Glasgow 2014, Jawad is aiming to improve on his podium finish in Australia in less than two years’ time.

“I hope to be at the Gold Coast Games in 2018 and I think that I want to improve on the bronze. With my injuries it is hard for me to improve on my lift but to try and improve on the medal would be amazing.

“Glasgow 2014 was probably my best ever performance to date; I’ve actually not matched that since. It felt like a home Games for me and the crowd were amazing even though I was English.

“For me representing the country that I live in and being part of such a successful team was just amazing and to be able to contribute to Team England’s success was just the icing on top of the cake.”


Eyes on the prize

However, before he turns his full focus on Gold Coast 2018, Jawad had the Paralympic Games at the forefront of his mind currently, and is hoping to end his wait for a Paralympic medal.

“I’m delighted to have been selected; and as a Paralympic medal is the only one I don’t have so far, that’s what I am aiming for.

“I finished fourth at London 2012 so hopefully this time I will get the reward from what I have put in over the last few years.”