Para-athlete, Abdullah Hayayei, has died after a discus cage fell on him during a training session at the Newham Leisure Centre in London.
The emergency services arrived a short while after the accident, but there was nothing they could do. Hayayei was pronounced dead at 17:20 BST on Tuesday.
Police statement on para-athlete's death
London Metropolitan Police stated: “Police, London Ambulance Service and London’s Air Ambulance were called shortly after 17:00hrs on Tuesday, 11 July, to reports of a seriously injured man at Newham Leisure Centre in Prince Regent Lane, E13. The man was pronounced dead at the scene at 17:20hrs.
“At this early stage, it is believed the man was struck by a metal pole which formed part of training facilities at the centre.”
The 36-year-old Emirati was preparing to represent UAE in the F34 class discus, javelin and shot put at the World Para-athletics Championships.
Our thoughts & condolences are with the family, friends & teammates of UAE's Abdullah Hayayei at this tragic time.https://t.co/H43r57vIog— World Para Athletics (@ParaAthletics) July 11, 2017
A real shock
The tragic incident was witnessed by some of Hayayei’s team-mates as well as coaches and athletes from other competing nations.
According to a World Para-athletes Championships’ staff member, “it was a real shock for all of us, we have no idea how it happened at the moment.”
The training facility is run by activeNewham on behalf of Newham Council, however, for the Championships, it was take over by World Athletics.
Saddened to hear of the death of UAE Para athlete Abdullah Hayayei. London's condolences are with his family, friends and teammates. https://t.co/qC6KldhEoO— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) July 12, 2017
Condolences flood in for Abdullah
The president of the International Paralympic Committee, Sir Philip Craven, gave his condolences: “We are all truly devastated by this tragic news and the passing of Abdullah. The thoughts, prayers and condolences of the whole Paralympic Movement are with Abdullah’s family, friends and teammates as well as the whole of the National Paralympic Committee of the UAE.
“We are all in a state of shock at this terrible tragedy.”
Also, Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, wrote about the incident on his twitter account: “Saddened to hear of the death of UAE Para athlete Abdullah Hayayei. London’s condolences are with his family, friends and teammates.'
Dream of medals for his country and his family
Abdullah Hayayei suffered severe injuries during an accident when he was serviceman at the UAE Armed Forces in 2001. He partially recovered and became a para-athlete, while continuing with his work in the army.
He made his Paralympic debut at the Rio 2016 Games, competing in the F34 class javelin and shot put. The Emirati finished sixth in javelin and seventh in shot put.
The F34 class is for athletes with a coordination impairment, most of which are wheelchair users. While competing in throwing events, most F34 class athletes use a special chair which is secured to the ground.
Majid Rashed, the vice-president of the Emirati National Paralympics Committee, spoke about Hayayei.
“We know Abdullah very well. He was ambitious, he dreamed to raise his country and achieve medals for his country and his family.
“He was a father of five kids and he had a lot of dreams in terms of his sport activities within the para sports movement”.