Achmat Hassiem, the Sharkboy inspirational story

Can you imagine your life’s dreams being shattered in a space of one minute because of an unfortunate incident that is no fault of your own? The right leg gets amputated and you can no longer be a professional lifesaver or a professional football player?

Well, this is the story of Achmat Hassiem, a South African who was on his way to being a professional lifesaver, but his life completely changed on one dramatic day.

Achmat was born on 6th May, 1982, in Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa. An avid football player and also training to be a lifeguard, his goal was to represent South Africa on the international stage in sports competitions.

However, on August 13th 2006, everything changed when Achmat went to do a routine lifesaving exercise in the Cape Town sea with his brother, other coaches and a boat.

As they were doing the exercise in the ocean, suddenly Achmat observed a fin coming out of the ocean waters and begin circling his younger brother, Tariq. In an unprecedented act of courage and bravery, Achmat shouted at the rubber boat operators to go and get his brother out of the waters and began kicking and splashing furiously to attract the attention of the Great White Shark away from his younger brother.

The inflatable boat managed to rescue his younger brother, but the shark approached Achmat, began circling and surrounding Achmat, judging his newfound prey. At this point Achmat’s survival instincts started kicking in. He first swam back in an effort to get away from the shark, but the shark was too fast for him and caught up to him in an instant. He then witnessed the shark circling around and rubbing his body against himself. Achmat, as he claims in a TedEx conference at TedEx sea-point, had no idea how to react and what to do. He could feign being relaxed or fight the shark tooth and claw.

Eventually, the shark grabbed and took him in to the ocean, by his right leg, while Achmat kicked the shark’s head vigorously with his left leg. The shark eventually let go off Achmat, while eating up his right leg. Achmat was eventually rescued by his younger brother Tariq as they came back to get him from the rubber duck boat.

Paramedics took him to the hospital where Achmat was treated. His brother was the first to reveal to him that he had lost his right leg. 

At this point, Achmat decided he had a choice. He could either get depressed, thinking that he would never have the same opportunities again, or he could get back up, pick up the pieces and be the most positive man in the world.

His brother told him cheerily and encouragingly that he can compete in the Paralympics in the South African swimming team, which has exactly the same benefits and competing requirements and prizes as the Olympics. Achmat regained his positivity and was thrilled at this literally newfound opportunity.

A big man with a big heart and soul, at 6 feet 4 inches tall and 88 kilograms, Achmat started training under coach Brian Button and was placed in the S10 classification for the Paralympics. After lots of training, hard work and dedication, he got selected to represent South Africa at the 2012 London Paralympics for the 100m butterfly stroke, 100m and 400m freestyle events.

His passion and dedication eventually paid off as he set a new South African record of 57.76 seconds in the 100m butterfly, winning a bronze medal in the process!

He now gives very motivational and inspirational speeches at various events around the world like TedEx and other conferences. He retired from sports after the 2016 Rio Paralympics and is living a very full and happy life, now training to be a professional bodybuilder. A movie about his life is also in the works.

He chooses to love sharks despite being almost eaten up by one! He has now become an Ocean Conservationist and Global Sharks Guardian for the United Nations,’ Save Our Sharks Coalition.

So, my friends, we can conclude this by saying that no matter what, you can achieve your goals and ambitions. All you really need is a positive attitude, persistence, dedication and passion for what you are doing. Achmat Hassiem has proven every step of the way that you can achieve whatever you want to with enthusiasm, determination and with a big smile on your face to top it all!!

Can you imagine your life’s dreams being shattered in a space of one minute because of an unfortunate incident that is no fault of your own? The right leg gets amputated and you can no longer be a professional lifesaver or a professional football player?

Well, this is the story of Achmat Hassiem, a South African who was on his way to being a professional lifesaver, but his life completely changed on one dramatic day.

Achmat was born on 6th May, 1982, in Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa. An avid football player and also training to be a lifeguard, his goal was to represent South Africa on the international stage in sports competitions.

However, on August 13th 2006, everything changed when Achmat went to do a routine lifesaving exercise in the Cape Town sea with his brother, other coaches and a boat.

As they were doing the exercise in the ocean, suddenly Achmat observed a fin coming out of the ocean waters and begin circling his younger brother, Tariq. In an unprecedented act of courage and bravery, Achmat shouted at the rubber boat operators to go and get his brother out of the waters and began kicking and splashing furiously to attract the attention of the Great White Shark away from his younger brother.

The inflatable boat managed to rescue his younger brother, but the shark approached Achmat, began circling and surrounding Achmat, judging his newfound prey. At this point Achmat’s survival instincts started kicking in. He first swam back in an effort to get away from the shark, but the shark was too fast for him and caught up to him in an instant. He then witnessed the shark circling around and rubbing his body against himself. Achmat, as he claims in a TedEx conference at TedEx sea-point, had no idea how to react and what to do. He could feign being relaxed or fight the shark tooth and claw.

Eventually, the shark grabbed and took him in to the ocean, by his right leg, while Achmat kicked the shark’s head vigorously with his left leg. The shark eventually let go off Achmat, while eating up his right leg. Achmat was eventually rescued by his younger brother Tariq as they came back to get him from the rubber duck boat.

Paramedics took him to the hospital where Achmat was treated. His brother was the first to reveal to him that he had lost his right leg. 

At this point, Achmat decided he had a choice. He could either get depressed, thinking that he would never have the same opportunities again, or he could get back up, pick up the pieces and be the most positive man in the world.

His brother told him cheerily and encouragingly that he can compete in the Paralympics in the South African swimming team, which has exactly the same benefits and competing requirements and prizes as the Olympics. Achmat regained his positivity and was thrilled at this literally newfound opportunity.

A big man with a big heart and soul, at 6 feet 4 inches tall and 88 kilograms, Achmat started training under coach Brian Button and was placed in the S10 classification for the Paralympics. After lots of training, hard work and dedication, he got selected to represent South Africa at the 2012 London Paralympics for the 100m butterfly stroke, 100m and 400m freestyle events.

His passion and dedication eventually paid off as he set a new South African record of 57.76 seconds in the 100m butterfly, winning a bronze medal in the process!

He now gives very motivational and inspirational speeches at various events around the world like TedEx and other conferences. He retired from sports after the 2016 Rio Paralympics and is living a very full and happy life, now training to be a professional bodybuilder. A movie about his life is also in the works.

He chooses to love sharks despite being almost eaten up by one! He has now become an Ocean Conservationist and Global Sharks Guardian for the United Nations,’ Save Our Sharks Coalition.

So, my friends, we can conclude this by saying that no matter what, you can achieve your goals and ambitions. All you really need is a positive attitude, persistence, dedication and passion for what you are doing. Achmat Hassiem has proven every step of the way that you can achieve whatever you want to with enthusiasm, determination and with a big smile on your face to top it all!!

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