Arab refugees in the Tokyo Olympics.. Achievements despite the difficulties (watch)


Arab refugees participate in the Tokyo Olympics, despite the difficulties they experienced in their country, and the journey to find safety for themselves and their families.

Twenty-six refugee athletes, chosen by the International Olympic Committee, will compete in the big event in the Japanese capital next July, after years of training.

The committee said their participation sends “a strong message of solidarity and hope, and raises more awareness about the plight of more than 80 million displaced people around the world.”

“They are a remarkable group of people who inspire the world,” said the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, who is also the vice-president of the Olympic Refugee Foundation. “Surviving war, persecution and the anxiety of living abroad truly makes them extraordinary.”

He added, “These athletes embody the hopes and aspirations of more than 80 million people around the world who have been displaced by war and persecution. They serve as a reminder that everyone deserves a chance to succeed in life.”

This will be the second time that a refugee team will participate in the Olympic Games, after the first participation in the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016, where 10 refugee athletes from four countries competed.

The Tokyo team was selected from among the refugee athletes supported by the International Olympic Committee through the Olympic Scholarships for Refugee Athletes Program.

Syrian refugees in particular stand out, whose arrival in Tokyo tells interesting stories of perseverance, patience over hardships, and hope for a better future.

exciting stories

The Syrian swimmer, Yusra Mardini, 23, is participating in Tokyo after she was part of the 2016 Summer Olympics team.

Yusra fled her country in 2015 to Germany, through Beirut, then Turkey, to the island of Lesbos in Greece.

On the last voyage, the boat that was going to get them to the island broke down, so the sisters and a third woman had to swim to push the boat for three hours and bring it to shore.

“All the way through, you can only hear all our prayers in one voice,” Mardini said in an earlier interview.

It continued on its journey to its final destination, Germany, on foot and in buses. “Sports were our way out of Syria,” Mardini says. “It gave us hope to build our new life.”

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Syrian cyclist “Badr El-Din”

Among the participants in the Syrian cycling competition, born in Aleppo, is Ahmed Badreddine (30 years old), who resides in Switzerland, and he finished ninth in the Asian Champions competition in 2019.

Ahmed as a junior won many local championships and the Arab road race, as he was the first junior to participate in world championships in the name of Syria, but with the outbreak of war, his life became more difficult, and in 2014, he decided that he had no choice but to flee, and indeed he arrived in Switzerland after a trip long.

Currently, he is cycling and hopes to study sports science.

The Iraqi “Al-Obaidi” in the wrestling competition

In the wrestling competition, the Iraqi refugee residing in Austria, Akram Al-Obaidi (22 years), who had won third place in the 2019 European Junior Championships (ESP), after arriving in Austria fleeing from Mosul where he grew up, will participate.

Al-Obaidi left his country after ISIS began recruiting young people in the city, and after he arrived in Austria, in 2016, he continued training and competed with his colleagues in an international competition in Riga, in which he won the gold medal, and currently he trains seven times a week in a local wrestling club and trains children.

Al-Obaidi said in an interview with about his departure from Mosul: “I didn’t want to leave, but I had to… It was a very scary experience. I didn’t know where I was going or where I would end up.”

When he moved to Austria, he faced difficulties in adapting to the new life, but he was able to overcome them, after “his talent opened the way for him” and he was able to establish many friendships in the world of wrestling.

After his outstanding performance in the world of wrestling, he set the dream of Tokyo in mind, and painted the five Olympic rings on one of the walls of his house, to remind him of this goal, and indeed he received a grant for athletes from the International Olympic Committee, and benefited from training and funding in his quest to compete until he was already selected.


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