| Hakim Hayat |
DESPITE being visually impaired, Norali Ali Yusop – a local well known for his inspirational personality in overcoming challenges despite his condition – is set to participate in the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon this Friday.
Norali lost his sight following a severe case of meningitis when he was 17 years old. Since then he has persevered to carry on leading a normal a life and achieve great things by continuously setting personal challenges.
“In order for one to achieve their aspirations and dreams in life, they have to get past their limits. I want to prove to others that they can overcome their own struggles and challenges. This can become the foundation of your own success,” he told the Bulletin in an interview prior to his departure at Brunei International Airport yesterday.
The 2012/2013 Chevening Scholar, who is also an Education Officer at the Special Education Unit, Ministry of Education (MoE), said, “Challenges that come with a disability are usually self-imposed and only you can choose to rise above them. It boils down to the individual to take that crucial step forward.”
Sharing his struggles after losing his eyesight, he said there was a time when he felt hopeless.
“But I soon realised that it is not what happens to us that makes or breaks us, what counts is what we do after that. So I decided to pick myself up, take a leap of faith and turn the situation around. I have not looked back since,” he added.
Norali has a string of enviable achievements under his belt, including the national Youth ICT award presented by His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in 2008 and the Asean Youth award presented by the National Youth Council of Singapore in 2011.
Last September 2012, he was awarded with the prestigious Chevening Scholarship, enabling him to pursue his MA in Inclusive Education and Technology at King’s College London and where he was awarded with a distinction.
He also came back with a Hans prize from King’s College for achieving the highest scoring grade for his dissertation, not only in his own Masters programme but in comparison with all 40 other Masters programmes within the Department of Education and Professional Studies.
The Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon will not be Norali’s first. He has finished a number of marathon events locally and internationally including one in London.
Sharing on his training regime before the event, he said he has been doing a mix of activities such as weight training, running and some swimming and cycling.
He also took part in a recent local run event and is aiming to join his first triathlon event.
Norali will run in the 10km Category and is hoping to finish the marathon with a good time.
In Dubai, Norali will also be sharing his life story and joins Ambassadors for Standard Chartered Bank’s global initiative in tackling avoidable blindness, “Seeing Is Believing”, Henry Wanyoike and Joseph Kibunja from Kenya, who are taking part in the 10km Category.
Jennifer Kang, Head of Sustainability and Community Investment for the MENAP (Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan and Afghanistan) region, said Standard Chartered are delighted to have Norali participate and share his inspirational story with the community there. She also looks forward to raising awareness around their ‘Seeing is Believing’ initiative.
A widely recognised international sporting event where over 25,000 participants are expected, Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon 2015 marks the 11th year of the event. For the fourth year in succession, it has been awarded Gold Label status from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
Norali during the interview yesterday also thanked Royal Brunei Airlines (RB) for their support in making his journey become a reality.