People with extraordinary determination continue to captivate the world with their creative abilities, teaching us valuable lessons of willpower and serving as remarkable examples of resilience. Among these exceptional individuals is Hassan Abu Krayem, a 42-year-old hero from Gaza, Palestine.
Abu Krayem’s story began in 2006 when he sustained a life-altering injury during the Israeli aggression against Maghazi camp, his place of residence. As a result, he lost one of his legs, with his left leg being completely amputated. This injury marked a turning point in Abu Krayem’s life, fundamentally changing its course. Reflecting on this, Abu Krayem shared, “The injury completely transformed my life, leading me to embrace the world of athletics as a means of reintegrating into society and delivering a powerful message to the Israeli enemy that we will steadfastly uphold our principles and rights. This injury does not hinder our right to live.”
Driven by an unwavering spirit and refusal to surrender, Abu Krayem ventured into the realm of sports in 2007, harboring a dream to see the Palestinian flag proudly raised in international arenas. “My most cherished dream was to witness the Palestine flag being hoisted at international events. Despite facing immense fatigue, I dedicated myself to rigorous training. I encountered injuries and setbacks along the way, but I never ceased pursuing my dream.”
In 2018, Abu Krayem and a group of friends established Palestine’s first football team for amputees. This endeavor encountered numerous obstacles, with the most significant challenge being how to engage in sports using crutches. To shed light on the team’s vision, Abu Krayem emphasized, “The primary objective of creating this team is to integrate individuals with disabilities into society through sports, as it has a profound positive impact on their psychological and physical well-being.”
Kyarem’s Innovative Approach Succeeded Amidst Pandemic Challenges
When the world came to a standstill due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Abu Krayem faced restrictions on physical exercise due to preventive and security measures. However, through his innovative thinking, he found a way to overcome these obstacles and make strides in his field. “With the onset of the pandemic, collective activities came to a halt. Consequently, we turned to cycling, an individual sport. Initially, I purchased a bike along with my friend Naji, who introduced me to the world of cycling. We then worked together to popularize this idea in the Gaza Strip, ultimately forming a team consisting of 30 young individuals with amputations,” Krayem said.
By 2022, the team participated in the Arab Bicycle Championship for Persons with Disabilities in the UAE, marking their inaugural official international competition as amputee athletes representing the Palestinian state. With nearly 30 bicycles from 17 Arab countries, they achieved a significant milestone, with fellow team member Captain Wahid Rabah securing two silver medals, while Abu Krayem claimed third place and a bronze medal.
In the same vein, Abu Krayem appealed to civil society organizations for support in aiding those who have undergone amputations and assisting them in obtaining the necessary sports equipment to pursue their dreams.
Abu Krayem highlighted the lack of specialized sports prosthetics as a major challenge faced by athletes with amputations in the Gaza Strip. He concluded by expressing his aspiration to one day acquire a dedicated prosthetic that would enhance his ability to lead an active and fulfilling life.