Adopted mother Moira Kelly
World record at the 2011 Australian Championships
Born in 1991 with significant disabilities in all four limbs, Ahmed Kelly was left at a Baghdad orphanage where he spent the majority of the first seven years of his life. Then in 1998, he met Moira Kelly from the Children’s First Foundation, who brought Ahmed and his brother Emmanuel, also born with limb deficiencies, to Australia for medical treatment.
After undergoing surgery to remove the deformed sections of his lower legs, Ahmed learned to walk with the use of prostheses, and before long, he began to run. His inspiring recovery soon led him to his first sporting love, Aussie Rules Football. He joined his local team in Kilmore, Victoria, and quickly earned the nickname Nails because of his “hard as nails” style of play.
His toughness, skill and determination helped him progress rapidly as a footballer, but when the sport eventually began to take its toll on his body, Ahmed turned his attention to swimming in 2008 and he has not looked back since.
After competing at his first international competition, the 2009 Oceania Paralympic Championships in Darwin, Ahmed has gone on to claim back-to-back 100m breaststroke crowns at the Australian Championships (2010 and 2011), with both victories coming in world record time. At his first Paralympic Games, Ahmed came agonisingly close to winning a medal in the 50m breaststroke, finishing fourth.
Cheering him on at first Paralympics, Ahmed had two very special supporters behind him all the way – his adopted sisters Trishna and Krishna. The conjoined twins were separated during more than 27 hours of surgery in 2009. Ahmed says the support of his sisters pushes him a couple of metres forward in every race and will help him continue swimming well into the future.