In preparation for the future competitive fixtures, the Andalus Youth Centre in Mosul, Iraq, held a championship for disabled youth athletes.
An Open Table Tennis Championship was held in Mosul by the Andalusia Forum for Youth and Sports in cooperation and coordination with the Sports Directorate in Nineveh. The Championship was organised in preparation for the Paralympic games and the national Iraqi Open Championship.
“This tournament will prepare the players for future championships and we wish them success in them”, said Muhammad Ali Fathi, head of the Andalusia Forum for Youth and Sports.
Two players, Safwan Tawfiq and Abdulrahman Shama, will represent Nineveh in the upcoming national championship.
“These two players have prepared and improved throughout the course of these championships”, noted Bassam Abd Fattah, an official from the Sports and Education Committee in Nineveh.
The city of Mosul has seen a revival of sports since the liberation of the city from the hands of ISIS in 2017. Sports were banned under the terrorist group who viewed such activities as incompatible with its totalitarian ideology and strict interpretation of religion.
The focus on sport has been part of the rehabilitation process of the city in both physical and mental terms. Sport is especially a useful means for young people to engage in healthy activity and build bonds of camaraderie far from the military training imposed by ISIS on young people in Mosul and Nineveh in general.
The involvement of young people with disabilities in sports competitions is also an extremely welcome development as these young people were formerly marginalised elements of society who barely engaged with the public sphere and have received little support from governmental institutions.
Over two years have passed since the liberation of Mosul from ISIS and the local authorities in Nineveh have been making attempts to restore and improve the social fabric of local residents and communities, with a particular focus on young people in the fields of sports and culture.