© Reuters. Syrian refugee Ibrahim al-Hussein, an amputee swimmer, goals for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Video games


By Karolina Tagaris

ATHENS (Reuters) – As an adolescent in Syria, Ibrahim al-Hussein dreamt of turning into an Olympic swimmer earlier than he misplaced a leg within the warfare. Now a refugee in Greece, he’s coaching for a spot on the Tokyo Paralympics.

The son of a swimming coach, Hussein, 33, started swimming aged 5 within the Euphrates river, which passes by his hometown of Deir al-Zor in japanese Syria. He used a bridge as a diving board till it was destroyed in his nation’s civil warfare.

In 2012, Hussein ran outdoors to assist a pal damage in a bomb blast, solely to be injured himself. His proper leg was amputated from the center of the calf. He later made the damaging journey to Greece in a wheelchair.

“Something is feasible,” stated Hussein, who competed within the Rio Paralympics in 2016 as a part of the primary ever Refugee Crew.

“Ninety % of individuals on the earth imagine energy is in your arms, in your legs. However energy comes from inside, from the thoughts,” he stated.

Greater than 50 refugee athletes hope to compete in Tokyo. The Worldwide Paralympic Committee plans to ship as much as six as a part of a Refugee Crew to be finalised in June. Hussein is decided to be a part of it.

“Each second within the water, I consider the Olympic Video games,” he stated after a two-hour coaching session.

“There’s something inside me: I’ve to succeed in the Olympic Video games, I’ve to succeed in the World Championships. Even when I lose a second leg, if I lose an arm, I can’t cease.”

Hussein crossed to Greece in 2014 in a rubber boat with 80 folks. A personal physician ultimately bought him a prosthetic leg totally free and in contrast to a whole bunch of 1000’s of refugees who travelled north to wealthier European international locations, he stayed and was granted asylum.

“I wasn’t searching for cash,” he stated. “I used to be searching for a homeland, I used to be searching for household, I used to be searching for legs. I discovered all of it right here.”

Hussein started swimming competitively once more in 2015 and with the assistance of his coach and the Greek Paralympic Committee, competed in Rio within the 50-metre and 100-metre freestyle occasions.

“I do not swim for myself,” he stated. “There are 80 million refugees on the earth. I swim for them.”

Hussein stated he has rejected gives to compete with Syria and won’t return until the warfare ends.

“I can’t put on the cap, the tracksuit, which has the identical flag because the airplane, because the weapons (dropping) bombs on folks,” he stated.

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