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ARABAT Rafik
Sport Para powerlifting
NPC France   
GenderMen
Age31
Place of BirthMontfermeil, FRA
Height1.67 m
Weight 85 kg
Human Interest
Impairment Information
Type of Impairment
Spinal Cord Injuries
Origin of Impairment
Congenital
Further Personal Information
Residence
La Courneuve, FRA
Occupation
Athlete
Languages
Arabic, French
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport?
He began powerlifting in 2004. Prior to that he tried swimming, archery and fencing, among other sports.
Why this sport?
He originally began powerlifting to help with his mobility, and eventually became passionate about surpassing his limits. "It's the only time, other than when I am sleeping, that I can leave my wheelchair behind. When we lie down under the bar, the chair is forgotten and we are all equal."
Senior International Debut
Year
2012
Competing for
France
General Interest
Most influential person in career
His physiotherapist JB Gebert who pushed him to take up the sport, and his family. (Athlete, 04 Dec 2017; Facebook page, 14 Jan 2019)
Hero / Idol
French powerlifter Souhad Ghazouani, US bodybuilder Ronnie Coleman, French judoka David Douillet, French footballer Zinedine Zidane. (Athlete, 04 Dec 2017; Facebook page, 14 Jan 2019)
Ambitions
To win a world title. (mouv.fr, 08 Jan 2019; Facebook page, 14 Jan 2019)
Impairment
He was born with spina bifida, a condition where the spinal cord does not develop properly in the womb, causing a gap in the spine. (Athlete, 04 Dec 2017)
Other information
SANCTION
In June 2019 it was announced he had been suspended by the International Paralympic Committee [IPC] for nine months after returning an adverse analytical finding for the banned substance hydrochlorothiazide at the 2018 European Open Championships in Berck-sur-Mer, France. The suspension ran from 28 May 2018, the day of the test, to 27 February 2019. All his results within those dates were disqualified, which meant he was stripped of the gold medal he won in the 88kg category at the 2018 European Open Championships. (paralympic.org, 01 Jun 2019; insidethegames.biz, 01 Jun 2019)

ROLE MODEL
He wants to be a role model for people with an impairment. "Through my image I can give strength to families. I don't care about being famous or money. For me, what is important is that people might come up to me and tell me, 'We see what you do, it's beautiful and it has made an impact in our lives'. I would love that. Once I have left this world, I hope people will say, 'I want to become just like Rafik', because each one of us can be a role model for someone else." (Facebook page, 14 Jan 2019)

FAMILY HERITAGE
He was born in France to a family with Moroccan origins. (taghbalut.wordpress.com, 28 May 2018)

SPORTS ASSOCIATION
In 2021 he established the HAN'TRAIDE sports association, which aims to help create job opportunities and provide support for people with an impairment. "We are sensitive to the challenges of impaired people. The association would also like to support people with disabilities in their administrative and professional procedures. We are passionate about sports and we want to integrate sports workshops into our training programmes with the goal of strengthen the social cohesion. Through our action we want to highlight and demystify taboos and prejudices around disability." (Facebook page, 25 Feb 2021)

Competition Highlights (historical)
World Championships
Rank Year Event Result
19 2014 88kg 174.0
8 2017 88kg 191.0
10 2019 88kg 188.0
5 2021 88kg 201.0
4 2021 Team  
European Open Championships
Rank Year Event Result
6 2015 88kg 187
1 2018 88kg 196
2 2022 97kg 211