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Ahmed Kelly’s new goal is gold

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Jo Kubeil
Jo Kubeil
Jo Kubeil has recently joined the North Central Review team as a journalist, with interests in Indigenous culture, community services, and environmentalism. Jo has previously worked as an entrepreneur, designing apparel to help people feel dressed for success.

Ahmed Kelly has swum his way to the Paris Paralympian Games, and is among 29 talented all-abilities athletes who qualified to represent Australia at pre-selections in Brisbane last month.

Mr Kelly and his brother Emmanuel were regular swimmers at the Kilmore Leisure Centre, but they first met under tragic circumstances. Both boys were born with severely underdeveloped limbs, the result of exposure to chemical weapons before birth.

They grew up together at Mother Teresa orphanage in Baghdad, Iraq, and consider themselves brothers.

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Around the age of 7, they caught the heart of humanitarian worker Moira Kelly, and she quickly adopted them and brought them to Kilmore, where they attended both St Patrick’s Primary School and Assumption College Kilmore.

Despite such a brutal start to life, the Kelly boys continue to thrive in inspirational and unexpected ways.

Mr Kelly’s first sporting love was football, and he earned the nickname ‘Nails’ for his tough-as-nails approach to team sport. When he discovered para-swimming, the nickname changed to ‘Liquid Nails’.

Since 2009, ‘Liquid Nails’ has had his heart set on being in the Australia Paralympic Swimming team, and he earned his podium position when he shattered his own 100m breaststroke world record at the Australian Swimming Championships in Sydney in 2011.

Mr Kelly made his debut at the Summer Paralympic Games in London in 2012, and said being selected was one of the highlights of his career.

From there, he competed in the 2016 Rio De Janeiro event, and four years later in Tokyo he won a silver medal.

His brother Emmanuel is no stranger to being in the spotlight either, and is on course to become the first all-abilities pop star.

He goes on tour as the supporting act for British rock band Cold Play in October this year.

In a few short weeks, the paralympians leave for their staging camp in Charters. The games begin on August 28, and the Review would like to wish Ahmed and the team every success leading up to and at the games.

To join the paralympic cheer squad, please visit

To purchase tickets for Emmanuel Kelly’s show, please visit

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