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Swimmer who fled Syria competes on Refugee Olympic Staff, hopes to additional understanding

TOKYO, Japan — A swimmer who fled Syria as a teen is among the many 29 athletes competing on the Refugee Olympic Staff (ROT) in Tokyo this summer season.

The Worldwide Olympic Committee (IOC) says 23-year-old Yusra Mardini escaped the Syrian capital of Damascus along with her sister in August of 2015 and he or she now resides in Berlin, Germany.

Previous to the warfare in Syria, Mardini was a aggressive swimmer who represented her nation in worldwide competitions.

“Me and my older sister determined due to warfare we weren’t protected. You went to high school generally and there have been bombings. Within the pool there have been additionally bombings,” she informed the IOC.

Since fleeing Syria, she has been coaching on the Wasserfreunde Spandau 04 membership, which is a accomplice of the Elite Faculties of Sport in Berlin.

Mardini was one of many first members of the ROT when it was created by the IOC earlier than the 2016 Olympics in Rio as an emblem of hope for refugees worldwide.

In Tokyo, she competed within the ladies’s 100-meter butterfly race over the weekend. She completed third place in her warmth, however she didn’t transfer ahead as a result of solely the highest 16 swimmers of 33 certified for the semi-finals.

David J. Phillip/AP

Yusra Mardini and Tachlowini Gabriyesos, of the Refugee Olympic Staff, carry the Olympic flag throughout the opening ceremony within the Olympic Stadium on the 2020 Summer time Olympics, Friday, July 23, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photograph/David J. Phillip)

Although she didn’t earn a medal, that wasn’t her solely objective on the Olympics. The IOC says Mardini’s mission is to assist others higher perceive the plight of refugees, that what they’re in the end in search of is security and alternative.

Mardini’s expertise on the Olympics is a bit totally different than that of different athletes. As a result of she doesn’t compete for one nation, she feels she represents the “complete large world,” she informed the IOC.

Alongside along with her work within the pool, Mardini turned the youngest particular person ever to be appointed as a goodwill ambassador of the United Nations Excessive Commissioner for Refugees in 2017.

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