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Syrian refugee carries the Olympic torch of the 2016 Rio Games

2016-04-28

It is more than just an Olympic torch. It is the triumph of life over death, war and indifference.

Ibrahim Al-Hussein received and carried this torch while passing through the Eleonas refugee camp, near Athens.

IBRAHIM AL-HUSSEIN
Syrian refugee
"Big honor. Big honor. This isn’t a game to me. It’s an honor. It wasn’t easy. Inside my heart, I feel so happy, so happy. Today I made it. What more can I say? I don’t know.”

It was a symbolic gesture of hope for thousands of people, who like him, have fled violence and war, leaving behind their loved ones and their homes.

IBRAHIM AL-HUSSEIN
Syrian refugee
"I hope all refugees, not just from Syria, but from Iraq, Afghanistan, from Syria, that came to Europe, who were athletes before, that they will join other sport teams wherever they are. Hopefully, I hope that they don’t just sit inside the camp.”

Ibrahim was a water polo player in Syria. He began swimming as a child, and was encouraged by his father. However, his career came to a halt when he lost a leg in a bomb explosion in 2011.

He made the best of his situation and is now part of a wheelchair basketball team.

He fled his city, Deir ez-Zor, one of the most affected by the war, and has been living in Greece for two years. He arrived there, like so many of his compatriots, on an inflatable boat.

He now has refugee status and works in a cafeteria. Since he was a child, his dream was to participate in the Olympics. Although the war has taken everything from him, this dream could still come true.


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