18 Apr The Adventures of Sharkboy
August 2013 saw an eventful month for Achmat Hassiem, former False Bay member and Paralympic medalist. The 2013 IPC Swimming World Championship recently took place in Montreal, Canada and Achmat was part of Team South Africa that made the lengthy voyage overseas to the North American country. With the championship running from the 12th to the 18th, Achmat was selected to represent the country and his fellow teammates as the flag bearer for South Africa at the opening ceremony.
Achmat as the Team South Africa flag bearer at the opening ceremony for the IPC Swimming World Champs in Montreal
While in Canada, Achmat also celebrated a very special day, what he calls his “Sharkaversary”!
August 13th saw the seven year anniversary of that infamous day when he was attacked by a great white shark at our very own beach during an IRB training drill in an attempt to save his brother, Taariq Hassiem. His bravery saw his younger brother come out safely and thanks to the efforts of his fellow lifeguards and his resilience, he too emerged from the ocean during the near fatal attack.
Achmat and his brother Taariq (currently still a member at False Bay) soon after the attack.
Achmat and Taariq after he returned home from London with a Paralympic bronze medal.
The attack resulted in the lower half of his right leg being amputated and while others may have seen this as a negative, Achmat has engineered nothing but positive reactions to his situation. He competed at his first Paralympic Games in 2008 in Beijing and at his second Paralympic Games in London in 2012, he brought home his first medal from the spectacle, a bronze in the 100m butterfly along with an African record.
Achmat with his Paralympic bronze medal that he won in the 100m butterfly event in the S10 category
Achmat recently visited the club to join in on some beach training, and who knows… Maybe in the near future we’ll see him at some lifesaving competitions in the red, green and white again. In the mean time, Achmat is spreading his positive energy by hosting several motivational talks aimed at young athletes in particular and training hard in the pool for the upcoming Western Province Championships and we wish him all the best of luck!
Achmat leading the False Bay march past team.
Team False Bay lining up for a rescue event, with Achmat on the far right
Check out the tweet at the top of the page that he dedicated to returning to the club!