Iraqi amputee takes first scuba dive in Aquarium at Atlantis, the Palm in Dubai

Posted: 24-Sep-16 11:24

Zainab Al Eqabi from Iraq has enjoyed her first scuba diving adventure at Ambassador Lagoon Aquarium in Atlantis, The Palm, despite only having one leg. The 26-year-old pharmacist lost her leg when she was seven years old when an unexploded bomb from the Gulf War went on in her home. Zainab took part in the underwater activity to show that life can still carry on with a disability.

Iraqi amputee takes first scuba dive in Aquarium at Atlantis, the Palm in Dubai

The lovely Zainab Al Eqabi has taken part in her first scuba diving adventure at the Ambassador Lagoon Aquarium in Atlantis The Palm in Dubai. The 26-year-old Iraqi lost her leg when an unexploded bomb went off in her home when she was age seven.

The pharmacist and social media influencer enjoyed a weeklong course at the Atlantis Dive Centre last week. The special course had been organised with the help of Disabled Divers International (DDI), who provide scuba diving training for people who disabilities.

Zainab, who uses a prosthetic leg to walk, lost her leg when a bomb that had been in her home unnoticed for seven years since the first Gulf War, suddenly went off when she was fixing her bike with what she thought was a tool. Her leg was badly damaged, and then a medical treatment error led to her having to have it amputated. She wanted to raise awareness of the joy in scuba diving and sports despite having one leg, saying that “life doesn’t stop when you have a disability”. Zainab explained:

“I’m still in the training stages right now, but the fact that you can move the way you like in the water gives you complete freedom. I have faced no real challenges with this experience, especially with the help of the instructor, who has plenty of experience training people with different kinds of disabilities.”

The former Sharjah University student first practiced in shallow swimming pools and then depths of three metres, before she took her first open water training dive in the 10-metre deep aquarium at Ambassador Lagoon Aquarium alongside thousands of colourful marine creatures. During her first supervised open water dive in the aquarium, several hotel guests gathered around the windows to give her the thumbs up.

Mike Ceci, Zainab’s diving instructor and manager of the DDI diving centre, explained how beneficial scuba diving is for people with physical and mental disabilities. He said that anyone from the age of ten can learn, apart from people with epilepsy. He commented:

“People with mobile disability or visual impairment become more confident to deal with life, and also outgoing and happy. There’s a daily beneficial aspect of this sport for the disabled. People who haven’t been able to move legs under water, began to kick with them. They go in the mind-set they are not used to and the brain reacts in a specific way. It teaches them to face different challenges in life.”

Zainab’s course includes five pool sessions and four open water dives, and she will then receive her scuba diving licence. She intends to use her new skill to explore the sea world wherever she travels.

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