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Syrian refugee dreams of representing home country at 2020 Games


09-16-2016 16:03 BJT

Full coverage: 2016 Rio Paralympic Games

Just like at the Olympic Games, the Paralympics in Rio had a team consisting of refugees. This squad much smaller than last month's Games -- which had ten athletes. This group consisting of just two members, one of those being Ibrahim Al-Hussein.

The 27-year-old swimmer from Syria was named to the squad because of the strife affecting his country. And the International Paralympic Committee inviting him to compete in Brazil, under their banner. 

Ibrahim did not win a medal but says just being in Brazil "was the reward".  In 2012 Al-Hussein, a swimmer, lost his leg after an explosion. He eventually left his nation, due to its internal conflict, and make his way to Athens, where he now works in a cafe.

Moving to Greece, helped him gain selection to the refugee team. He established a new life and returned to sport, swimming "for four hours every day after work," and also playing the fast and furious game of wheelchair basketball. He is happy to be in Brazil, but he has a different goal for the future, to compete as a Paralympian for his home country -- Syria.

"I’m very happy with my achievements here. I don’t know if you know, but I also stopped swimming for five years. I only returned to the pool a year ago. But I consider these Paralympic Games as a training camp, it is the start to get ready for future championships. Now, my country is lost. The situation is very difficult but I'm very happy to compete under the Paralympic flag. And I hope, one day, the crisis will end, and everything will be back to normal," Ibrahim Al-Hussein said.

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