From Baghdad to Rio: Ahmed Kelly on track for Paralympic Gold

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With one year until the Paralympics in Rio, internationally renowned swimmer Ahmed Kelly is aiming to win his first medal at the Games.

Ahmed Kelly's nickname is 'Nails', for his tough attitude towards training and competition.

He set a world record in his second race and now has his sights set on Gold in the pool at Rio.

“I never like it when people say 'Oh Ahmed you can't do that' or 'this is going to be way too hard for you to do’,” he said.

“If they do that, I love to prove them wrong.”

Born in 1991 with significant disabilities in all four limbs, Kelly was abandoned at a Baghdad orphanage with his brother who is also disabled. In 1998, his life changed when he was brought to Australia for medical treatment by his-now adoptive mum Moira Kelly.

'I never like it when people say 'Oh, Ahmed you can't do that' ... I love to prove them wrong'

"The day that mum, Moira Kelly - Aunty Moira as I called her then - came, it was just an unbelievable day,” he said.

“One of those amazing days that you dream of.”

He had surgery to remove the deformed sections of his lower legs, and was fitted for prosthetics. Kelly learned to walk - then run - and his natural athleticism led him to join his local Australian rules football team for several years.

But once he got in the pool, his talent led to Paralympic selection in 2012.

It wasn’t an easy feat, according to the Australian Paralympic Committee's Tim Matthews.

'Just having a disability and playing sport doesn't entitle you to go to go to the Paralympic Games'

"Just having a disability and playing sport doesn't entitle you to go to go to the Paralympic Games,” Mr Matthews said.

“For those who love it and want it enough it's a great opportunity.”

Kelly came agonisingly close to a medal in London finishing fourth in the 50-metre breaststroke.

Over the next 12 months, he will amp up his training schedule to 10 sessions a week in the hopes of going one better in Rio.

His coach Brad Harris is confident they'll get there.

"Our goal is to definitely win gold, but he's got a long way to go,” Mr Harris said.

'Our goal is to definitely win gold'

“The thing is, he's doing every single session and he's pushing the boundaries of what he can do and you can only improve if that's the way you train."

Kelly has also got support from his two little sisters - Bangladeshi twins Trishna and Krishna – and he said he was determined to show them that anything is possible.

"Trishna and Krishna are definitely some of my biggest fans,” he said.

“Krishna watches all the swimming on my ipad so it's so good to see that. So maybe I can get her in the pool in the next few years working towards the Paralympic Games, you don't know."

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