Giovanni Qattawi

Posted: March, 13, 2018 - 1:02pm

Student heads to Youth World Games

Giovanni Qattawi was invited to represent the U.S. track and field team in the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) Youth World Games in Ireland this summer. He is one of only 29 youths from across the country to earn a spot on the team.

Qattawi, a freshman, has mild cerebral palsy that primary affects the lower left side of his body. He does not let that slow him down, though. Qattawi has been participating in competitive adaptive sports since the age of 7, when he started playing wheelchair basketball and lifting weights. He later added track and field to his repertoire.

His involvement with the Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association has propelled him to this high point in his athletic career. He has earned many national and international accolades since he started training with GLASA.

“The experience, the competition, the amount of training I have to do… I know I can do it, but I want to go put myself out there and see how far I can push myself before I break. I plan to go until I can’t anymore,” he said.

Qattawi has been overcoming adversity since birth. He says he was 25 weeks early, weighed a pound and a half, and was only the length of a pencil. His chance of living was two percent. In fact, his twin brother Armani died only seven days after birth.

“In reality, in my heart, I’m living for two, not just myself,” he said, remembering his brother. “I’m blessed to be where I am now, and I wouldn’t be here at all if it weren’t for my parents, Lakes, and GLASA,” he said.

In Athlone, Ireland, he expects to compete in the following events: 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash, long jump, javelin, and shot put. A a member of the boys track and field team at Lakes, he participates in the same events with the exception of javelin.

“I’m coming in last,” he says of his experience on the Lakes team, “but in reality, I know as long as I keep pushing ahead, I can achieve anything.”

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