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Syrian swimmer hopes to represent refugees at Rio Olympics

Updated March 19, 2016

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Syrian swimmer Yusra Mardini (2ndL), her father Izzat (L), coach Sven Spannekrebs (2ndR) and Pere Miro of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) pose for a picture after a press conference in Berlin on March 18, 2016.—AFP
Syrian swimmer Yusra Mardini (2ndL), her father Izzat (L), coach Sven Spannekrebs (2ndR) and Pere Miro of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) pose for a picture after a press conference in Berlin on March 18, 2016.—AFP
Syrian swimmer Yusra Mardini attends a press conference in Berlin on March 18, 2016.-AFP
Syrian swimmer Yusra Mardini attends a press conference in Berlin on March 18, 2016.-AFP

BERLIN: One year after swimming for her life in Greek coastal waters, Syrian refugee Yusra Mardini could be swimming at the Olympics.

The 18-year-old Mardini is hoping to be selected for a small team of refugees that will compete under the Olympic flag in Rio de Janeiro in August. Yusra says: “I want refugees to be proud of me.”

Yusra fled Damascus with her older sister Sarah last August and survived a hazardous crossing on the Aegean Sea to reach Europe.

Now she trains at a pool built for the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. She is among 43 refugees from different countries in contention for the International Olympic Committee’s “Refugee Olympic Athletes” team.

Published in Dawn, March 19th, 2016