Two time South African Paralympian Achmat Hassiem, who became lost part of his right leg following an attack by a great white shark, was recognized this week by the United Nations Save Our Sharks Coalition at a ceremony at the offices of the United Nations in New York City.
Following being given the award, Hassiem was quoted by Team South Africa as saying, “It means so much to me to have this recognition. Only one award was given out amongst many great nominations in my view. And the award was handed to me in front of many ambassadors and honoured dignitaries all over the world including our very own Adv. Thembile Joyini from the Permanent Mission of the Republic of South Africa to the United Nations.'”
The Cape Town native is currently ranked 9th in the world in the men’s 100 m butterfly S10, 10th in the world in the 50 m butterfly, 17th in the world in the men’s 50 m backstroke, 18th in the world in the 100 m freestyle, 28th in the world in the 100 m backstroke, and 46th in the world in the 50 m freestyle.
Hassiem is aiming to go to the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio, where he will enter as the reigning bronze medalist in the 100m butterfly. His finish in London was enough to set a new continental record. If he competes in Rio, the Games will be his third. He made his début at the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing where he failed to qualify out of the heats.