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Paralympian Ahmed Kelly Inspires

Year 6 students from Edge Hill State School had the privilege of meeting Australian Paralympian Swimmer Ahmed Kelly. Ahmed is currently training with Coach Herbie Howard in Cairns in preparation for the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games. He generously gave his time to share his unique personal story and inspiring message of hope and perseverance.
Students’ lucky enough to witness Ahmed’s presentation heard the remarkable story of his adoption, alongside his brother Emmanuel, from an orphanage for paraplegic and disabled children in Iraq. They learned about his incredible and sometimes painful journey through life changing surgery and then learning to walk using prosthetic legs. And they discovered how a child from an orphanage in Baghdad became an Australian sporting legend, first kicking goals in AFL and eventually diving into swimming at age sixteen.
“Once I had new legs, that’s when I discovered sports. I failed a lot of times. I just kept trying until I got it.”
Ahmed explains the keys to his success.
“Patience, perseverance and the right attitude are what matter. Everyone in this room will face a challenge in life… will have someone in life that inspires you. A positive attitude and inspiration from others can help you achieve your dreams.”
When asked who his greatest inspirations were Ahmed did not hesitate to name his adoptive mother Moira Kelly. Moira is the founder of the Moira Kelly Creating Hope Foundation ( a network assisting children with complex disability and from all over the world to come to Australia and access life-saving or life-changing medical interventions. When not in intensive training ahead of any number of national and international competitions, Ahmed proudly volunteers with the foundation.
Coach Herbie Howard, who also trains local Paralympian Grant “Scooter” Patterson, defines Ahmed’s drive and determination.
“Tell him (Ahmed) he can’t do something and he’ll do it.”
When students were asked what they took away from meeting Ahmed Kelly they were decisive,
“Believe in yourself. Don’t give up”
We think that sounds like the trademark of true champions.