Tokyo 2020: "An amazing, magnificent experience" - Sanda Aldass puts words to inspiring Olympic debut with refugee team
Having originally found joy on the basketball court, a coincedental stroll past a judo session noted the first chapter in an incredible sporting story. Aldass fled war-torn Syria in 2015, arriving in the Netherlands and eventually settling in Almere. Now, she's an Olympian. You want it? We have it. Stream every Olympic event live on discovery+.
'My kids told me to enjoy it' Refugee Judo athlete Sanda Aldass on competing at the Games
The 31-year-old mother of three made her Olympic debut against Serbia’s Marica Perisic in the Nippon Budokan.
A gold medallist at the 2020 European Junior Championships and 10 years her opponent’s junior, the Serbian won the duel, but Aldass had won over countless hearts long before stepping foot on a mat in Tokyo.
Two years ago Aldass was busy negotiating a double life as a training athlete and a mother, providing for her family whilst pursuing her dream of a Games debut.
“It’s so hard to be a sportswoman and mother and to do your duties during the day,” she told Eurosport in 2019.
Just to be a part of the Olympics myself and honour myself on the mat, it’s a big goal for me now.
“I’m not saying I’m going to go and win, but you never know how far you can reach.”
And yet reach she did, making it all the way to Tokyo to give her three children the most incredible story to tell about their mother.
The eldest may have to fill his siblings though, as Aldass revealed her youngest two children were too young to understand exactly what she was setting out to do.
Aldass said: “Only my oldest son can understand Olympics.
“He just told me mum please go and enjoy it just do the thing you love to do.”
The 29-strong refugee team are yet to collect a medal in Tokyo, but their inspiring stories have already cemented many of them in Games’ history.
Watch every unmissable moment live from Tokyo 2020 across Eurosport, Eurosport app and discovery+. Download the Eurosport app for iOS and Android now.