National Para cyclist team rookie Tarek Dahab a portrait in courage

Canadian Paralympic Committee

August 05, 2023

Former police officer now at world championships

Tarek Dahab

GLASGOW, Scotland – Para cyclist Tarek Dahab of Beloeil, Que. showed his trademark courage on Saturday at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome earning a 13th place finish in the men’s C2 scratch race in track Para cycling action at the UCI Cycling World Championships.

This year’s worlds encompass all cycling disciplines for able bodied and Para riders in an event dubbed the Super Worlds. Canada has fielded a 16-member Para team, among its total 130 rider squad, for the event.

Dahab only started track cycling six months ago.

‘’There’s no better way to swim than to be thrown in the ocean,” said Dahab, in his first season with the national team. ‘’I’m happy with the overall performance but I need some fine tuning to keep up with these guys.’’

Dahab, who turned 50 last month, also showed he learned a lot of lessons for the next time.

“I was carrying so much speed at the bottom line so I couldn’t slow down that fast, but the people on top overtook me with much more speed so I had a lot of catching up to do.”

Florian Chapeau of France won the gold medal with Maurice Far Eckhard Tio of Spain second and Alexandre Leaute of France third.

There were some harrowing moments in the race.

‘’My spider senses were tingling, I was scared,” said Dahab. “But these people have raced before, I’m the rookie, so I just put faith into them that they would avoid me and that’s what happened.”

It was in 2017 that Dahad suffered life-altering injuries. He was hit by a car while cycling in the bike lane.

“I was just finishing my ride, about one kilometre from home. I was dragged while under the car but luckily neither of my legs were fractured. In the end I’m glad it was just me and not the children behind me.”

Still there were multiple injuries and the recovery period was very long. Dahad underwent eight surgeries for his neck and broken vertebrae. Dahad emerged able to walk on his own power.

‘’It was four years before I could ride a bike again,” he said. ‘’After a lot of effort, building confidence, and physio I am here today racing at the world championships.”

It wasn’t easy to come back to a sport in which he was injured. He was also forced to take early retirement from his job as a police officer because of his injuries.

‘’It took a lot of convincing; I didn’t know anything about Para cycling,” he said. ‘’One of my colleagues told me about Para and slowly I got to know head coach Sébastien Travers. I started off as a C4 and after my first evaluation I was put in C2 (a more severe injury class than C4).”

Dahab has kept an upbeat attitude through his ordeal.

‘’I see it as a nice awakening; I get to be on the Para cycling national team in Canada.

“In all bad things you have to see the positive.”



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