Saudi Arabia Special Olympics Team powerlifter Hassan Alhadhariti was thrilled to see months of hard work pay off as he won the gold medal in his weight division.

The 23-year-old lifted an impressive 292.5 kilograms, sealing top spot in his Combined Squat, Bench Press and Deadlift competition held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC).

“I am proud of myself as the competition was pretty intense and thank God that I came out on top as I was determined to win,” said Hassan.

“Thanks to Allah I won the golden medal and have made my country proud.”

Hassan’s grueling training schedule before the games saw him adopt a strict workout and shed 3kg to make the 65kg weight limit for athletes.

“Before entering the competition one of the conditions was to weigh 65kg and I weighed 68kg,” said Hassan. “This meant I was unable to participate so I worked out and jogged a lot to lose weight to reach 65kg.

“Thank God I was able to lose enough weight to enter and then win the competition. -

Hassan was cheered on by his coach, team managers and fellow athletes who filled the powerlifting venue to support their friend.

“They all came to support me, and they were patient and really helped me,” said Hassan.

SO Bharat athlete Abhishrut Deokar was awarded the silver medal after lifting 280kg, while Emirati Abdullah Al-Katheri lifted 227.5kg and took home the bronze.