Paralympic Swimmer Achmat Hassiem Great White Shark That Bit Off His Right Leg


LONDON Paralympic swimmer Achmat Hassiem uses appropriate action to go fast: He imagines actuality chased by the abundant white bluff that bit off his appropriate leg.

The South African was attacked by a bluff off the bank of Cape Town six years ago afterwards he absorbed the abundant white abroad from his adolescent brother. Before again Hassiem had competed in assorted sports, including swimming, but wasn't abiding what to do afterwards accident his leg.

It was South African Paralympic pond best Natalie du Toit who encouraged Hassiem to get aback into the
water. Before long, he started breaking his country's Paralympic records.

"I took to the basin like a bluff in the ocean," he said with a laugh.

The 30-year-old Hassiem came to the London Paralympics bent to do bigger than his ninth-place accomplishment at the Beijing Paralympics four years ago. On Saturday, he won brownish in the men's 100-meter butterfly.

"My little abstruse is acutely that I aloof try and brainstorm I'm in the ocean and I've got a 4 ½-meter abundant white bluff at my feet," Hassiem said. "It's absolutely acceptable action to bathe fast."

In 2006, Hassiem was the aboriginal to atom the bluff aback he and his brother Taariq were on a lifeguard exercise off a accepted bank in Cape Town. He shouted to colleagues in a adjacent baiter to get Taariq out of the water, while Hassiem absent the bluff by slapping the water.

The bluff again bit Hassiem's appropriate leg and abject him about 50 meters.

"I gave one aftermost astronomic advance and heard a abundant snapping sound," Hassiem said of the moment he absent his leg.

As he was actuality pulled assimilate the baiter by his brother, Hassiem said he looked aback and saw the bluff chewing on what charge accept been his foot.

"I accept I absent my leg for a acceptable reason," he said. "Losing a leg is annihilation compared to accident my brother, so I'm aloof aggravating to accomplish the best of it."

Du Toit, one of the best busy Paralympians who was additionally the aboriginal amputee to attempt adjoin able swimmers at the Olympics in 2008, said Hassiem was an afflatus to others.

"It's been abundant to see Achmat do bigger and bigger in the aftermost brace of years," she said. "I anticipate he's become a role archetypal because bodies attending at him and admiration how they would cope in that situation. He's aloof gotten on with it and kept going."

Later this week, Hassiem will bathe in the 100-meter and 400-meter bathe events.

"That bluff angry my activity about for a reason," he said, "and I've got to accomplish the best of all my opportunities now."

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