At 18, Yusra Mardini is a refugee, but still an Olympian

Yusra Mardini, Olympian

At 17 years Yusra Mardini fled Damascus to escape the Syrian civil war. A year later, at 18, she is part of the Refugee team at the Olympics – a contingent which contains 10 members. As the name suggests, the team consists of athletes who have been displaced as a result of civil unrest in their countries. This is a platform provided to them so that they can compete in the  Rio Olympics. Mardini will take part in the swimming event on behalf of her team.

Intrigued? We will tell you more about her:

  • Mardini and her sister left Damascus, and after crossing Lebanon and Turkey, they attempted to cross the Mediterranean sea to get to Greece. The motor of the boat they were in stopped, and the boat would have capsized, but Mardini jumped into the water along with her sister and one more person and pushed it ashore, saving the lives of all 20 who were on board.

“I want to tell everyone that everyone can help the refugees and they can achieve a lot of things.”

  • In March Mardini was approached by the International Olympic Committee to join the team of refugees, which is made up of athletes who at present do not belong to any country.

India at Olympics

  • Mardini officially joined the refugee team in June and will compete in the 100-meter freestyle and the 100-meter butterfly.
  • Mardini now is one of the 43 athletes across the world who may not have a homeland and are considered refugees, but are vying for the chance to compete in the Rio Olympics.

Also Read: Olympian at 13: Gaurika Singh is the youngest competitor at Rio

  • Mardini has been practicing since October at the training center for Wasserfreunde Spandau 04, one of the oldest swimming clubs in the city. The pool was built by the Nazis for the 1936 Olympics.

Read more from our Rio series here and more

Read More Stories By Ria Das

Feature Image Credit: www.theguardian.com