Swimmer Ibrahim Al Hussein’s Incredible Journey From War-Torn Syria To The Tokyo Paralympics

Posted by

As Ibrahim Al Hussein awoke, it was dark. He couldn’t move, and heavy dust blanketed the area, obliterating all but a few little flames flickering nearby. It was difficult to take a breath. Another person quietly calling out nearby broke the harsh high-pitched ringing he could hear. Then there was the matter of his leg. He couldn’t feel his foot since something wasn’t right.

His family had already departed their home on the Euphrates River near Deir al-Zor, but Al Hussein felt driven to stay. When he was 23, he believed that if he was kidnapped, he would be forced into the army, and refusing would have meant certain death. Every day was a nightmare. Much of what he loved had been damaged by bombing, while water and electricity had been shut off, and no food supplies could enter the city.

The survivors created a brotherhood. They felt “locked in tombs” on some days, yet they managed to keep a community together. They would die for one another if they didn’t have to, but they prayed they wouldn’t have to. “I could just just make out individuals coming towards me as the smoke cleared,” Al Hussein recounts. “They dragged me away to safety after hearing the tank shell explode.”

Metal shrapnel was imbedded in Al Hussein’s nose, cheek, and arm, and his lower right leg had been blown apart. The blast had hit just a few feet from where he had dived to save his comrade, who had escaped injury.

With all public services ceased, a dentist had formed a makeshift medical facility in a tent where he could clean wounds and administer some pain relief.

Source: BBC Sport

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *