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Houssein Omar Hassan

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Houssein Omar Hassan (born January 1, 1977) is an athlete from Djibouti who competed in the 1,500 metres in the 2012 Paralympic Games in London in the T46 category. He finished last in his heat and was eliminated from competition. Hassan injured his foot during the race, which caused him to finish long after the other competitors. He was given a standing ovation by the crowd as he finished.

Paralympic career[edit]

Houssen Omar Hassan, 35 years old at the time of competition, is a right arm paraplegic.[1] He competed in the men's 1,500 metres T46 at the London Olympic Games. Hassan was the first representative from Djibouti to compete at the Paralympic Games and his nation's only athlete in 2012, carrying the flag of Djibouti at the opening ceremony.[2][3][4]

He finished last in his heat, recording a time of 11:23.50 (a season best), nearly three times the winner's result.[5] In addition to the difficulty of keeping balance while running with one arm, he had suffered a foot injury in warmups, and was advised to withdraw, but he was determined to compete as the only representative from his country. He struggled, visibly limping, and was lapped by the rest of the field.[6][7] However, his determination to finish the race generated a seven-minute rolling standing ovation from the crowd, and when he finished he received very loud applause.[8] After the race, while gesturing to his foot he told the media, "It was very sore, very sore. I do not stop. I want to finish."[9] Hassan's determination was recognized in media, as English newspapers reported on his accomplishment.[2] The supportive response of the crowd was later reported as the "slowest Mexican Wave ever", and Sebastian Coe was seen weeping at the spectacle.[10]

Two years after the Games, Hassan was awarded the Grand Prize of the Head of State for "Youth Initiative". The chairman of the Djibouti National Paralympic Committee was pleased that a disabled athlete received the honor, saying "This is a choice that honors us and demonstrates the willingness of the national authorities to promote Paralympic sport in Djibouti". The award came with a 3,000,000 Djiboutian francs monetary prize.[7][11]


  1. "Lonely last finisher shivers world". Xinhua. September 2, 2012. Retrieved March 4, 2018.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "« Standing ovation » pour le Djiboutien Omar Hassan Houssein" ["Standing ovation" for the Djiboutian Omar Hassan Houssein] (in French). DJIBSPORTS. September 5, 2012. Retrieved March 4, 2018.CS1 maint: Unrecognized language (link)
  3. "Athlete Bio". Paralympic.org. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  4. Paralympics 2016: With more athletes and bigger TV deals, Rio can build on London's legacy, The Independent, 6 September 2016
  5. "Crowds at Olympic stadium roar on hero Houssein Omar Hassan's effort". Metro. September 2, 2012. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  6. Mendick, Robert (September 1, 2012). "Paralympics 2012:Champion's ovation for straggler Houssein Omar Hassan". The Telegraph. Retrieved March 4, 2018.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Grand Prix du Chef de l'Etat pour « Initiative Jeunesse » : Le visiteur de la semaine Abdoulkader Yacoub Président du comité paralympique" [Grand Prize of the Head of State for "Youth Initiative": The visitor of the week Abdoulkader Yacoub President of the Paralympic Committee] (in French). La Nation ler Quotidien Djiboutien. November 6, 2014. Retrieved April 22, 2018.CS1 maint: Unrecognized language (link)
  8. Chadband, Ian (September 1, 2012). "Paralympics 2012: Houssein Omar Hassan wins over hearts and minds with his brave, if slow, 1,500m performance". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved September 6, 2012.
  9. Doward, Jamie. "Paralympics 2012 notebook: Dressage star trots toward record medal tally". The Guardian. Retrieved March 4, 2018.
  10. Lesson from the coach’s coach, Irish Examiner, 10 May 2014
  11. "Journée nationale et africaine de la jeunesse : Cultiver le sens du devoir" [National and African Youth Day: Cultivating a sense of duty] (in French). La Nation ler Quotidien Djiboutien. November 2, 2014. Retrieved April 22, 2018.CS1 maint: Unrecognized language (link)

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