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Refugee girls and attend the Olympic dream in 2016

Updated on March 21, 2016

he 18-year-old was one of 43 players from many different countries are International Olympic Committee (IOC) to consider the capacity to Rio, Brazil in August this year.

Yusra served as one of the prospects of swimming athletes Syria. However, the war has claimed the days of her beautiful home in Damascus. Half a year ago, she and her sister Sarah made a trip full of danger and survival: through the Aegean Sea to arrive in Europe.

"Our house was destroyed. We have nothing, "Mardini said Yusra Associated Press.

Yusra family to relocate several times to avoid the war. However, they recognize the tragedy in his hometown could not end soon. Increasingly fierce war in Damascus and they decided to leave for their lives.

Early May 8/2015, Mardini sisters joined the Syrian refugees find their way to Europe landed. They go through Lebanon and Turkey, to pay smugglers to be led off to Greece.

The first time, they were Turkish sea police discovered and began turning his head. However, wait until sunset, 20 people together on a slightly smaller boat and they decided to make a dangerous journey across the Aegean Sea.

Half an hour later, a small boat began to sink because carrying too many people and three of them could not swim. All luggage and thrown into the sea, but much that is not enough. Finally, Yusra, Sarah and other athletes jumped into the sea to swim.

"It was worse. We think, it is a shame if you can not help those companions, because there are people that can not swim. Of course, then, I hated the sea. So it was a difficult experience, "said Yusra Mardini.

At sea three and a half hours, hands clinging to the boat alongside, Yusra, Sarah and everyone finally to Lesbos, an island in Greece. They continued to walk a week Macedonia, Serbia and Hungary. They had fled the police in the cornfields to get to Hungary. "A lot of people have been arrested," Yusra share.

Strangers give them clothes, but there are people back their loot. They were arrested at the border and take a lot of money to buy a ticket when the government denied the refugee trains passing. However, they never lost heart. Police asked why they were arrested and still laughing.

"We replied that we had almost died in the sea, why be afraid of him?", Explained Yusra.

Finally, sisters to Austria and then to Germany Mardini. Shortly thereafter, an Egyptian translator in the group brought them to the center of Spandau swimming Wasserfreunde 04. There, they met Sven Spannekrebs.

Spannekrebs surprised by the ability of Yusra Mardini. He said that the 18-year-old girl entered the Union enough refugees in Olympic athletes.

"Five months ago, she is very good progress. Better than I expected. We are on track and wait for the new results, "said Spannekrebs.

Initially, they are directed to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo but Spannekrebs told Yusra progress, everything can happen faster. "Many athletes see her as a mirror. She trained very focused, "said Spannekrebs.

Every day, Yusra Mardini to school and then go for a swim, then go to school and go swimming. She was determined to seize the opportunity, especially after what itself has undergone.

"It's hard to leave home. Not only me, many of my compatriots, thousands of people are like that. That makes me a little less unhappy. We still can mutual assistance, "said Yusra. "I want the refugees proud of me. I want to encourage them. This is a lifetime opportunity. A good chance and I think I will try as possible ".

Yusra Mardini hope to afford to compete in the 200m free at the Olympics. She was excited at the prospect of seeing his old allies in Syria swimming team and friends.

"We talked to each other about it. It's like: 'Hey, we'll meet again.' All Olympic athletes want to attend. Participate under the Olympic flag Syria or unimportant. I just thought I would become a true athlete, "said Yusra.


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