Iraqi refugee units sights on Paralympics

ATHENS (Reuters) – On his fifth try, Iraqi refugee Wisam Sami lastly succeeded in reaching Greece with hundreds of others fleeing struggle in his homeland. Now he’s setting his sights on the Paralympics.

4 years after reaching Greece on a journey that took him from war-torn Mosul to Athens by way of Turkey, Sami is hoping to bag a spot to compete in fencing at Tokyo 2020.

Sami, who was left with a everlasting limp in his proper leg after a medical mistake at an Iraqi hospital when he was three, has spent the previous two years coaching to be a wheelchair fencer.

He has competed internationally this 12 months and is now hopeful he might be chosen. The Paralympics, in addition to the Olympics, have had a refugees group for the reason that Rio Video games in 2016.

“I’m simply following my desires,” Sami advised Reuters.

Sami spent six months residing in a tent in a refugee camp on the island of Samos earlier than transferring to the mainland with help from the U.N. refugee company UNHCR.

A undertaking by Greece’s Paralympic Committee for refugees caught Sami’s eye in 2017 and since then he has been growing his sabre expertise at a health club.

“It provides me extra pleasure and I really feel extra robust,” stated Sami, who used to work as a photographic designer in Mosul.

Sami’s coach Leonidas Koukos, who can be aide to the pinnacle coach of the Greek Paralympic group, stated that as a participant, Sami, 29, was fast and decided.

“He was watching the motion the opponent was making and the subsequent actual second he was making the counter motion,” stated Koukos. “That is very, excellent. That is his finest talent.”

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Sami competed within the Worldwide Wheelchair and Amputee Sports activities Federation Wheelchair fencing world cup in Warsaw in July and there are plans for him to compete in Italy and Hungary to offer him further publicity to competitions.

The Worldwide Paralympic Committee provides wild playing cards to refugees to compete in a refugee group underneath the IPC flag.

“If I practice extra this helps me go to Tokyo,” Sami stated. “That is the perfect second for me.”

Reporting by Michele Kambas; Modifying by Alison Williams

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