Sanaa Benhama

 Photo via Facebook

Photo via Facebook

Moroccan paralympic athlete Sanaa Benhama’s T13 classified vision impairment hasn’t stopped her from smoking her competitors on the track. At 35 years old she’s sitting on 12 medals combined from competing in the Paralympic Games and World Para Athletics Championships (also known as IPC Athletics World Championships); five gold, three silver and four bronze. Born in Al Khmissat, it was not until her friends in Rabat got her involved with running that she fell in love with the sport. And once in love, not even giving birth could keep her away for too long. Benhama raced in the 2011 IPC Athletics World Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand, gave birth to her son in 2012, and was back at the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon, France the following year. She has cited the most influential person in her career as fellow Moroccan and middle distance runner Hicham El Guerrouj. It’s evident why she admires him; he’s the current world record holder in the 1500-meters, mile and outdoor 2000-meters events and a two-time Olympic gold medalist. But while El Guerrouj influenced her career, she names long distance runner Said Aouita, known for breaking records including his very own, as her hero and idol. And her determination and drive despite her challenges makes her ours.

Teneille Craig