Aya Ayman Abbas is a paralympic swimming champion with more record to her name than we could keep track of. The prodigy’s story started at the age of 6 when she was doing hydrotherapy at Al-Shams Club. Aya found herself swimming and was the first athlete to join El Shams Club’s newly established Special Needs swimming team. By the age of 8, Aya was already competing in national championships where she would quite deservedly win first place. She then moved on to win the Best Egyptian Swimmer Cup and continued to maintain it for 5 consecutive years, advancing and evolving with every passing day.
At the age of 14, Aya joined the Egyptian Paralympic National Team and won a gold medal on her first international championship with the team, becoming the first female to win a golden medal in the history of Egyptian Paralympic women’s swimming.Aya was the first, youngest, and only Egyptian, African, and Arabic swimmer to qualify for the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Paralympic Games at the blooming age of 16.
“When I first started, it was all personal effort; I had to depend solely on myself and the support I got from my parents. There were no swimming teams, no facilities, and no acknowledgment of the special needs. As time went by, teams started forming and we started getting more attention, but it’s still tremendously lacking. I’m very grateful to have a mom as supportive as mine, and I don’t know what I would’ve done without her constantly pushing me to live up to my potential. She put her life and her dreams aside to help me accomplish mine, and I’ll eternally be grateful for that.”
Aya’s accomplishments are by no means limited to being an outstanding athlete. The now-20-year-old is majoring in Integrated Marketing Communication double minoring in Business and Theatre at the AUC, where she’s also a marketing member at both the Anti-cancer team club (ACT-AUC) and Developers club, and an actress at Theater and Film club (TFC). Egypt’s first female Paralympic swimmer is also a motivational speaker, a formal speaker at both Youth Lead Youth For People with Disabilities and Creative People with Disabilities Committee at the United Nations Arts Organization (UNIARTS), and a model.
Some of Aya’s records include being the first and youngest Paralympic swimmer to be awarded the Egyptian Republic Medal for Athletes, the first Egyptian, Arab, and African Paralympic swimmer under the age of 16 to qualify for the Rio De Janeiro 2016 Paralympic Games, the first Egyptian, Arab, and African Paralympic swimmer to be awarded the Egyptian Republic Medal for Athletes, and first Paralympic swimmer in Egypt and the Arab world to win a medal in the Para swimming World Championships where she won both a silver and a bronze.
Aya qualified for the Tokyo 2020 games that have now been postponed to 2021. She’s not stopped training and is preparing to break even more records and to make us as proud as we can ever be.
“No pain, No gain. My journey wasn’t easy and continues to be challenging, but when a dream is big, the gains are even bigger. There were so many times when I was the youngest, the only girl, or the first to do something, but I never let it get in my way and neither should you. Dream big, always, and keep working till you get there.”
Aya Ayman Abbas is an Egyptian Paralympic swimming champion who won the Egypt Cup three times. Her athletic career highlight is breaking thenational record as the first female Egyptian and/or African swimmer to win medals at the 100m and 400m events in a World Championship since 1910.
Aya won 1 gold and 2 silvermedals at the Spain International Championship to become the first and youngest swimmer to qualify for the World Championship in England in Glasgow 2015
She won two gold medals, a silver medal, a bronze medal, andbroke an African record at the Poland International Championship to qualify for the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Paralympic Games.
Broke world record as the youngest athlete to achieve both the 10th an 11th places at the Rio De Janeiro Paralympic Games.
Aya earned a silver medal, won 2 bronze medals, and ranked 4thand 5th at Berlin International Championship to qualify for the World Championship in Mexico. At the World Championship in Mexico, she earned a silver medal, a bronze medal, ranked 4th, and broke yet another African record.
The champion won a gold and 2 silversat the American International Championship in Indiana to qualify for the World Championship in England in 3 competitions
She ranked 4th in twocompetitions and won a silver and a bronze at the British International Championship in Glasgow to qualify for the World Championship in England in 3 competitions. At the England World Championship in London, she ranked 7th, broke 4 African records, and qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
Aya has been honored by many organizations and entities throughout her journey. These include but are not limited to:
- Al-Shams club after winning the world championship for swimming in Spain 2015
- President Abd El-Fattah El-Sisi by receiving the second-class medal of Republic to the first and youngest Egyptian Paralympic swimmer to won it in 2016
- the ministry of youth and sports after qualifying to Rio de Janeiro Paralympic Games
- In 2016, Cairo University and the National center for women for participating in the Paralympic Games Rio de Janeiro in 2016
- South Sinai governorate in 2016
- Misr University for science & technology in 2016
- The American University in Egypt (AUC) in 2016
- the Egyptian parliament
- Egyptian Gas Holding Company (EGAS)
- PB Petroleum Company
- Al–Ahram newspaper
- Minister of Civil Aviation
- Al-Ghad Funds
- Emirates NBD bank in 2019.
- The National Center for Disability Affairs.
- She is also being featured in grade 3’s Arabic book, and that’s how you know someone truly made it.
Aya has been living among us, recognized by a few when she should be celebrated everywhere she rolls her wheels up. It may seem light in writing and reading, but the journey of becoming a Paralympic World Champion is nothing short of arduous.
Say her name, celebrate her wins, and support Egyptian Paralympic athletes.