Ground Report | New Delhi: Yusra Mardini; When the Refugee Olympic team participated in the 2016 Rio Olympics, there was hope among the refugee people from all over the world that they too can now come forward and show their courage, their game. The true story of Yusra Mardini is also similar. Her struggle to get from Syria to Rio and then the Tokyo Olympics will leave everyone wondering what it takes to be an athlete. The road was never easy, never will be, but game lovers take the thorns out of it and show the world that everything is possible.
Twenty-nine athletes from the Refugee Olympic Team are competing in 12 disciplines at the Tokyo Olympics this summer. One of them is Syrian swimmer Yusra Mardini, whose trip to Japan is not only a story of success, but also a story of hope. In 2015, four years after the war in Syria began, Mardini knew she had no choice but to leave her home in suburban Damascus’s Darya for good.
Her father, Izzat, a swimmer who competed on the Syrian national swimming team, and her psychopathic mother, on the other hand, avoided fleeing the country despite the raging war – until they could resist the idea.
Ever since the Tokyo Olympics began, we have come across success stories of athletes who faced extreme struggles to make their dream come true. And Yusra’s story is one of them.
Her greatest dream
Olympics is her greatest dream. She talked about it at Eurosport’s Trailblazers series:
I want to do lots of things but, for me, swimming has been number one and being a part of the Olympic games is my biggest dream. My dream is for the world to be at peace and there will be no more refugees anymore. That those wars will end and that we are all equal in the world and live peacefully and in harmony. I know it’s hard but this is my dream.
She hopes her participation in the Games can help end the stigma of being identified as a refugee and wants to inspire other refugees to dream big. “After Rio I took the responsibility of standing up for the refugees,” she said in Eurosport’s Trailblazer series.
“To stand up to the younger generation like ‘Okay, I have a rough background but I’m still moving forward and still dreaming’ like you should.
Her sister, Sarah, who entered the world of swimming before Yusra, and also won a few medals in Syria, is equally ambitious, but on a slightly different path.
A message of hope
Speaking at the One Young World summit on 23 July, she said, “I decided to go back to Lesbos, where my life changed drastically.” Saving refugees in danger, as they once did on their perilous trip to Europe, is now Sarah’s goal but it also ends up in her being arrested.
“I am sending a message of hope to all those I love, while also showing the world that refugees will not give up easily and will continue to dream even after going through difficult journeys,” she said.