Refugee Olympic Team swimmer Yusra Mardini has spoken of the importance of having the refugee team at the Olympic Games.
Mardini, who carried the Olympic flag during the Tokyo 2020 opening ceremony, is one of only 29 athletes selected to represent the Refugee Olympic Team in Tokyo.
The athletes are selected from refugees supported by the IOC through the Olympic Scholarships for Refugee Athletes program.
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Yusra Mardini, a 19 year-old Syrian swimmer
Image credit: Getty Images
Commenting on the importance of the team following her 100 metres butterfly heat, Mardini said: “This team is very powerful.
“In this team every person has their own story, their own struggle that they came through, and they are still pushing towards their dreams and they continued to dream even after losing a lot
We chose to say we are going to dream and continue working on what I love.
“That is how special this team is because they carry a message of hope to people that you can go through something really tough and still go forward.”
The 23-year old, who is originally from Syria and is currently based in Germany, first competed under the Olympic flag at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Trailblazers - Yusra Mardini: From fleeing a warzone to competing at the Olympics
She believes that sport is about transcending borders.
"In sport here, they stand on the block but nobody cares where the other athlete is from," Mardini said.
They just care about competing and being better than them and this is the game."
Having finished last in the heats, Mardini will not progress to the women’s 100 metres butterfly semi-finals.
Despite not being happy with her performance at the Games, the Refugee Olympic Team swimmer continues to dream, and now has a new goal in mind.
She said: “It’s not my personal best but I think with all the circumstances it was OK, but I am not happy with my performance.
“I need a break from training to have a think of my next goals.
“But I think my next goal is to swim at the World Championships at the end of this year.”
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