Monday, September 01, 2008

Profile of Jordanian Paralympian

Okay so I didn't realize that the current dearth of coverage of the Paralympic Games was because they haven't actually started yet. I had thought that the Paralympic Games occurred immediately after the Olympic Games and I do believe this has happened in the past (Salt Lake City, for example). But not this time. The Games don't start until September 6.
In the meantime, check out this article about the first Jordanian, Maha Barghouti, to win Paralympic gold. She did so in table tennis in Sydney, 2000.
She is headed to Beijing to compete.
Barghouti was named Arab athlete of the year in 2001 and Jordanian sportsperson of the year in 2002. I think those awards are pretty interesting in lights of a few things. First, we seem to think the (dis)abled athletes need categories of their own. Second, when there are not separate categories (I'm not going to get into the whole separate but equal debate here) sometimes it appears that the inclusion of (dis)abled athletes smacks a little bit of tokenism. [Fat Louie at Women's Sports Blog mentions this briefly in regards to the Women's Sports Foundations annual Sportswomen of the Year Awards). And finally, many people think that the Middle East is a pretty backwards place for women, for female athletes, and for (dis)abled female athletes. Yet that hasn't seemed to affect the positive attention Barghouti has received.

1 comment:

Fat Louie said...

Thanks for the continuing linkage. I need to clarify on WSB that they're still running the torch relay through various Chinese cities and the athletes are arriving. But the media coverage will not improve once the games start, so don't hold your breath.
Meanwhile, it's nice to remind people that the Middle East isn't a monolith. Saudi Arabia and Iran don't speak for the whole region, of which Jordan is a fairly liberal part. We can learn some lessons from them about not ghettoizing our disabled athletes, perhaps.