PER­SE­VER­ANCE WINS GOLD

Friday - - Editor’s Letter -

Henry Wany­oike, Kenya’s world-class ath­lete, re­cently said, ‘I want the world to re­mem­ber me as the one who might have lost his eye­sight but never lost his vi­sion.’ Yes, mul­ti­ple-world-record holder Henry is a visu­ally im­paired Par­a­lympian, but that dis­abil­ity is a mi­nor im­ped­i­ment when it is set against his sin­gle-minded grit to achieve glo­ri­ous suc­cess for his coun­try as well as for his fam­ily and him­self.

It is this per­se­ver­ance that I bow my head to. I be­lieve it is that one pure qual­ity that can­not be stained by scep­ti­cism or doubt. It de­fines us in times of chal­lenges, when we are plagued by ob­sta­cles and tend to stray from our path; it is the ce­ment that holds us to­gether when we be­gin to crum­ble un­der the pres­sure of neg­a­tiv­ity; and it is that most im­por­tant fuel that keeps the fire in our hearts burn­ing, even when

It is that one pure QUAL­ITY that can’t be stained by scep­ti­cism or doubt. It holds us to­gether when we be­gin to CRUM­BLE un­der the pres­sure of neg­a­tiv­ity, and is the FUEL that keeps the FIRE in our HEARTS burn­ing

dis­be­lief tries to douse it. And 18-year-old Nada Al Bed­wawi (read her story on page 20) is another tes­ti­mony to this fact.

As the Emi­rati girl holds her coun­try’s flag high and leads the team at the open­ing cer­e­mony of the sum­mer Olympics at Rio de Janeiro in the early hours of the morn­ing to­mor­row, she will not only carry the hopes and pride of her coun­try on her strong and able shoul­ders, but will reap the fruit of her own per­se­ver­ance. In those few mo­ments, Nada will prove that all those years she spent fight­ing cul­tural prej­u­dice, chip­ping away at gen­der stereo­types and hon­ing her own tal­ent in the process were all worth it.

She may or may not find a spot on the vic­tory stand, but for mil­lions of girls in gen­eral and as­pir­ing ath­letes in spe­cific, Nada is a win­ner.

Here’s wish­ing Nada all the very best in her life. Let me know what you think of her jour­ney. Un­til next week,

Mrinal Shekar Deputy Edi­tor mshekar@gulfnews.com

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