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Surgery, survival and skating to success

Congenital heart patient and Double Gold Medallist (Compulsory and Free), Amonn AL-Mahrouq, stormed to yet another victory during the April 2015 International Inclusive Ice Skating Championships (http://www.inclusiveskating.org) held in Braehead Curling Rink, Glasgow. 

After his previous success (April 2013 in Dumfries), he was determined to not only beat his score, but retain his coveted title “Double Gold Medallist” which he impressively achieved on 11 April 2015. Amonn said “This competition was a little awkward as I had only 12 days preparation time due to having the previous five months away from ice-skating”. However, he thought he would have a go and see just how far he could push himself.

Amonn AL-Mahrouq has not always enjoyed an easy life. He was born in February 1977 with a life threatening heart defect, Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD), requiring complex, dangerous and ground breaking surgery when he was just 16 months old, leaving him blind, deaf, in a coma and paralysed down his right side.

“A ventricular septal defect (VSD), sometimes referred to as a hole in the heart, is a type of congenital heart defect in which there is an abnormal opening in the dividing wall between the main pumping chambers of the heart (the ventricles).”

Never to be deterred by his unfortunate circumstances, Amonn made an incredible and truly remarkable recovery - thanks to his dedicated family, teams of specialists, surgeons, doctors and nurses. His early years were spent relearning how to talk and walk, before enjoying a relatively normal life. He went on to achieve multiple G.C.S.E’S / A Level’s, an Undergraduate Honours Degree in Music, ABRMS Grade 8 Practical (Dist.) and ABRSM Grade 8 Theory Of Music, , P.G.C.E (FE) and a Master’s Degree in Internet Engineering and Management before suffering two cardiac arrests whilst playing badminton with a friend in April 2007.

After his collapse in 2007, Amonn decided to turn his attention to playing the piano, quickly passing ABRSM Grade 6 Piano with Distinction. He is now enjoying studying for Grade 7 which he aims to take soon.

He has always been interested in ice-skating and had lessons from an early age, sadly having to give it up due to lack of energy in his teens. He then turned his attention to music, attending The Royal College of Music (Junior Department) and Trinity College of Music (London) for his Undergraduate Degree. In addition he has attended Masterclasses and courses in Wakefield, France, Spain and Canada. An article published by The Guardian on Saturday 29 March 2008 entitled “Fighting Back” rated his CV as “Seriously impressive”.

Amonn now trains and is inspired by Ruth Woodstock (The Boss) at Guildford Spectrum Ice-Rink where he has integrated quickly and feels “part of the family”. He said, “It is a breath of fresh air to be in such a positive and supportive environment”.

Everybody needs role models and being part of “The Inclusive Ice Skating Movement” means he has had the pleasure of meeting some amazingly positive skaters all of whom have inspired him to continue to improve and push the boundaries of his ice skating. He is very much looking forward to his next competition.

He was very fortunate to have been selected from thousands of applicants to perform in The London 2012 Olympic Ceremonies being cast as one of The Thousand Drummers of The Industrial Revolution and had the pleasure of entering the stadium via one of the press boxes on international television for a few seconds along with two of his Olympic colleagues. He then went on to Marshall the Closing Ceremony and was one of just 40 who were picked to perform in all four Olympic ceremonies. He said “The Olympic ceremonies are the best events I have ever participated in, especially the drumming! I will never forget meeting the legends who are Danny Boyle, Mike Rutherford (Genesis) and Brian May (Queen)”.

Of the Olympic opening ceremony, he said “I will never forget the moment we entered the Stadium. In those 18 or so minutes of The Industrial Revolution, time stood still - nothing will ever compare to this performance, the sights and smells were so real, it was like I had been transported back in time - what a privilege and honour”. 

On a more serious note, he will be forever grateful to Mr. Steve Barton (manager at Wimbledon Park Sports Centre, Southsea) for resuscitating him on that fateful date in April 2007. He goes on to add: “Everyone should have to do a First Aid Course as this has the potential to save thousands of lives”.

If you would to connect with Amonn AL-Mahrouq you may contact him via Facebook (www.facebook.com/amonn.almahrouq), LinkedIN (www.linkedin.com/in/amonn) or via his web site www.mahrouq.com.


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