Nicknamed ‘Liquid Nails’, Aussie Paralympian Ahmed Kelly is the ultimate competitor. The 25-year-old was born in Baghdad, Iraq with significant disabilities in all four limbs. In 1998, his life, and his brother’s changed dramatically when they met Moira Kelly from the Children’s First Foundation. Moira brought Ahmed and his brother Emmanuel, who was also born with limb deficiencies to Australia for medical treatment.
After a tough road of surgeries and learning to walk, Ahmed started playing Aussie Rules football where he first earned the nickname ‘Nails’ because of his hard style of play. When he applied that same fierce determination to swimming his nickname was adapted to ‘Liquid Nails’.
Qualifying for his second Paralympics was a very special moment for Ahmed.
“It means so much to me to have another amazing opportunity to represent my beloved country. It’s extremely tough to make the team and you have to really earn it,” he says.
Ahmed has a long list of international swimming achievements, including fourth in the 50m breaststroke SB3 at London 2012 with a time of 52.54.
Getting so close to the podium is Ahmed’s inspiration to go one better in Rio.
“I just missed out on a podium finish in London so it would be nice to finish top three, but a gold medal is my aim.”
At the Australian Paralympic Trials in April, Ahmed claimed the gold in his pet event the 50m breaststroke with a time of 50.67, ranking him 5th in the world.
After his 1:50.57 win in the 100m breaststroke, Ahmed is now ranked 1st in this event.
Ahmed is thankful for his support team and draws inspiration from many different sources but he is most thankful for the people who have been the most influential on his journey.
“My coaches and my mother have had the biggest influence for me so far. They have never given up on me and have shown endless support towards my dream of winning gold for Australia.”
The team at SwimSwam and his sponsor Funky Trunks wish Ahmed all the best for Rio and are looking forward to seeing him push himself to the limit.
Swimming news release is courtesy of Funky Trunks, a SwimSwam partner.