The Incredible Achievements Of Walid Ahmed Abdel Kader

Courtesy of KAATSU, Huntington Beach, California.

David Whyte is an Honor Pilot inducted in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame. Whyte retired after 25 years of piloting 305 English Channel swimmers from 32 different countries between 1984 and 2008.

Whyte has personally seen and escorted numerous incredible feats of endurance in difficult conditions, but one of the most unlikely successful channel crossings of his was with Walid Ahmed Abdel Kader, a disabled Egyptian who has one arm and one leg. Walid completed his 33.5 km English Channel crossing from England to France in 12 hours 59 minutes in August 1990.

Walid explains his story, “I had a terrible train accident that ultimately changed my life forever. In the accident, I lost my right leg and my left arm, permanently disabling me. I was in the hospital for over eight months.

I was approached by a disabled swimmer who advised me to talk to the head coach of the Egyptian national long distance swim team, Nabil ElShazly. Nabil told me that this would change my outlook on life and my disability. Long distance swimming gave me the determination to prove to the world and myself that you can overcome anything despite my disability.

After one year of the training and swimming, I went with a group of swimmers as part of the Egyptian national team to participate in swimming long distance in 1989. After accomplishing this long-distance swim, I started to believe that I could accomplish anything despite my disability.

In 1990 as a 19-year-old, I started to train harder to prepare to swim across the English Channel. I swam the English Channel with the dream that I would be the first person in history with only one leg and arm to swim across the English Channel. I swam the English Channel in 12 hours and 59 minutes under bad weather, high waves and sever currents.”

Ned Denison of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame will interview Walid in a special WOWSA Live program next week.

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