This Syrian Athlete Will Bear the Olympic Flame in Athens in the Presence of 1,500 Refugees

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This summer, the Olympic Games will find place in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. In solidarity with all the refugees worldwide, Ibrahim Al-Hussein (a Syrian refugee and athlete) will bear the Olympic Flame in Athens in the presence of 1,500 refugees.

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© Achilleas Zavallis

Ibrahim Al-Hussein is a Syrian athlete and refugee who grew up in Deir ez-Zor. As a child, his father taught him how to swim and he participated in many local and national competitions were he has won dozens of medals. His life always revolved around sports and he dreamed of participating in the Olympic Games. But his dream was interrupted because of the war; he had to flee Syria because he lost a part of his right leg after he was hit by a bomb when he wanted to help a friend.

Ibrahim fled to Greece in 2014, where he started to rebuild his life and began with his rehabilitation. He now walks with a prosthetic leg, after he taught himself how to walk again.  When he learned how to walk again, he joined ALMA, a Greek non-profit organization for athletes with disabilities and he’s also part of a basketball team. His trainer Kokkinou said “I saw a strong athlete, nothing more”.

His rehabilitation was hard, because he had to start all over again. Without a part of his leg, Ibrahim’s flutter kick was not as strong as it once was. But Ibrahim kept working hard and eventually he had regained his confidence in the water. He trained so hard, Ibrahim now swims the 50-metre freestyle in about 28 seconds, faster than he did before his injury. In June, he will compete in the Panhellenic games for swimmers with disabilities.

Ibrahim said he decided to stay in Greece, because the way of life there felt so familiar to him. His trainer Kokkinou said “ he has not let anything stop him – not the war, not losing his leg. He’s been an athlete his whole life. Now he’s back on track”.

This article was written by Yassin Moussali | Yassin is a 22-year-old guy from Belgium. He’s politically and socially engaged, always in for a cup of coffee, a fan of hiphop and he dreams of traveling around the world.

Written by Yassin Moussalli

Yassin Moussalli

Yassin is a 22-year-old guy from Belgium. He’s politically and socially engaged, always in for a cup of coffee, a fan of hiphop and he dreams of traveling around the world.