Palestinians with disabilities take part in a marathon in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, Dec. 1, 2019. Dozens of persons with disabilities on Sunday participated in a wheelchair marathon in the city of Khan Yunis in the southern of Gaza Strip, as the world observes the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. (Photo by Rizek Abdeljawad/Xinhua)
by Sanaa Kamal
GAZA, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- Dozens of persons with disabilities on Sunday participated in a wheelchair marathon in the city of Khan Yunis in the southern of Gaza Strip, as the world observes the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
Samir Owaida, a father of five who suffers from polio, won the wheelchair marathon. He said he is proud to win in most of races that were held in the Gaza Strip.
The 45-year old said he wants to show other people that the disabled people can be active in their community and they can achieve their goals in differences aspects of life.
"We are here to send our message to the community that the disabled people are existed in the life and they can continue their life like the other people," Owaida said.
Na'eim al-Khateeb, 52, did not win but says he did his best in the competition.
"This race gives us a power to be the best by competing with the others. You should be even if you a disabled man," he said.
He also said they are facing obstacles, such as the old wheelchairs that they are using and the lack of enough funds to get new ones.
"We need the international community to look at us as victims of war, poverty and unemployment," al-Khateeb said.
The competition was organized by a non-government institution, known as Emaar for Development and Rehabilitation.
Emad Esleem, director of Emaar for Development and Rehabilitation said there are 47,000 people with disabilities who live in the Gaza Strip, accounting for 2.4 percent of the total local residents.