Connect with us

Sports

Syrian refugee swimmer hopes biopic helps others displaced

Published

on



LONDON:

Syrian refugee swimmer Yusra Mardini, who almost drowned at sea fleeing her war-torn country before competing at two Olympics, hopes a new film about her life will help other displaced people.

Yusra, 24, believes “The Swimmers”, chronicling the perilous journey across Europe she and her elder sister Sarah undertook in 2015, has “an amazing message” that will give viewers “joy, hope, tears, sadness”.

Advertisement

The dramatisation, currently showing in some UK, US and German cinemas before its global release on Netflix next Wednesday, portrays the two leaving their parents and younger sister in Syria to seek refuge in Germany.

Once there, Yusra managed to restart swimming training and qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics, then the Tokyo Games five years later as part of the refugee team.

“When we decided to make this movie… we wanted to see an impact,” she told the audience at a London screening of the film this week.

“It is very important that this movie is going to show what a real refugee is actually like. We want to be DJs. We want to be architects. We want to be doctors, engineers — and we are, even before coming to the Western world.”

The 134-minute film, set to a pulsing soundtrack featuring the likes of Australian singer Sia as well as Arabic music, recounts the sisters’ near-death experience crossing the Aegean Sea in a damaged rubber dinghy taking on water.

Advertisement

On the treacherous voyage from Izmir in Turkey to the Greek island of Lesbos, the tiny vessel — carrying nearly 20 people rather than the half dozen it was designed for — threatens to capsize after its motor dies.

The sisters, who were among the few on board who could swim, jumped into the water for several hours to lessen the weight of the stricken inflatable until it could finally reach shore.

“It was really, really scary for us, even if we’re swimmers,” Yusra recalled, adding that she was most concerned about a child in the dinghy — despite only being aged 17 herself.

“It’s sea. It’s not the pool and you don’t know what to do.”

During the dramatic journey, the film shows her telling a fellow refugee, “Swimming is home for me. It’s where I belong” and predicting she would one day compete in the Olympics.

Advertisement

Eventually reaching Berlin, Yusra joined a swimming club, meeting the coach who helps her achieve that dream.

“The pool was my safe place, even in Germany,” she explained, noting it helped her “fit in”.

“I met so many people and they kind of became a family to me. I’m still with the swimming club today.”

The Mardini siblings entrusted their remarkable story to British writer Jack Thorne and Welsh-Egyptian director Sally El Hosaini, with real-life French-Lebanese sisters Nathalie and Manal Issa playing them on screen.

Yusra described the actresses as like their “doppelgangers” but noted they also brought their own perspectives.

Advertisement

“They come from Lebanon. They understand what we went through. And I think that was very, very important.

“They did an amazing job and they played the role as themselves and not as us, but they did honour us,” she said.

The Mardini sisters were reunited with their parents and youngest sibling once settled in Germany, and the family now lives there.

However, Sarah and numerous other humanitarian activists face criminal charges in Greece — including espionage, forgery and assisting a criminal organisation — over accusations of helping migrants cross the Aegean.

The 27-year-old, also previously a competitive swimmer, had returned to Lesbos as a volunteer and allegedly affiliated with the non-profit search-and-rescue group Emergency Response Centre International (ERCI), which operated there from 2016 to 2018.

Advertisement

“It has been so difficult for her,” Yusra said, adding her elder sister had recently been allowed to re-enter Greece as the case continues.

“Those charges were not fair and she faces up to 25 years in jail — not only her, but other people as well. And those people were just volunteers.

“We’re just trying to help refugees and it’s just so sad.”

The Greek embassy in London did not respond to a request for comment.

During her London appearance, Yusra — a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador since 2017 — also revealed she had banished initial doubts about being on the refugees’ Olympics team.

Advertisement

“I realised it is not about me only any more… It’s about refugees. It’s about representing them.

“I gained such a strong voice after that and I was like: ‘You know what? Why not use it?’”





Source link

Advertisement
Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

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

Sports

Uruguay held by South Korea in goalless stalemate

Published

on



DOHA:

Uruguay faltered in their World Cup opener against a lively and energetic South Korea after they were held to a 0-0 draw in Group H on Thursday in a contest where both teams struggled to find the clinical edge.

Clear-cut chances were rare for either side at the Education City Stadium and although Uruguay created more goalscoring opportunities, neither team were able to register a shot on target.

Advertisement

Uruguay captain Diego Godin was denied by the woodwork while South Korea forward Hwang Ui-jo blasted over the bar with the goal at his mercy, leaving both teams to rue missed chances before group rivals Portugal and Ghana meet later on in the day.

Uruguay’s first sight of goal came in the 19th minute through Federico Valverde, who connected with Jose Maria Gimenez’s pass and took a touch before firing a half-volley towards goal, but his ambitious attempt went just over the bar.

The South Americans had begun to find their footing when South Korea, having been patient so far, disrupted their rhythm and launched a counter-attack from a Uruguay corner before the half-hour mark. Son Heung-min picked up the ball on the left flank and cut inside, skipping past two Uruguay defenders before curling a right-footed effort towards goal, but left back Mathias Olivera was able to clear it away. South Korea should have taken the lead in the 34th minute when Moon-hwan Kim fizzed the ball into the penalty area and into the path of Hwang in front of goal, but the forward could not keep his composure and sent it over the crossbar.

The closest Uruguay came to scoring in the first half was just before the break, when centre back Godin rose highest to power a header from Valverde’s corner but it bounced off the left post and away from goal. Gimenez made a crucial tackle to deny Son five minutes after the restart after a flowing move from South Korea, while Jung Woo-young blocked midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur’s powerful strike at the other end. Uruguay saw more of the ball but found few chances to break through the South Korean defence until the closing stages, when Valverde unleashed a thunderbolt in the final minute of regulation time that struck the top of the post.





Source link

Advertisement

Continue Reading

Sports

World Cup fans in Qatar introduced to Islam

Published

on



DOHA:

The Katara Cultural Village Mosque in Qatar’s capital of Doha has become the focus of attention for World Cup fans who want to get to know about Islam.

Multilingual male and female preachers at the mosque explain the religion and tolerance of Islam to tourists.

Advertisement

Electronic boards about Islam in more than 30 languages at the door are positioned to allow visitors to view them on their phones. And booklets introducing Islam in different languages ​​are distributed to those who want them.

The Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs in Qatar also launched a pavilion to introduce Islam and its teachings during the World Cup 2022.

Also read: Batshuayi fires Belgium to World Cup

World Cup fans encounter hadiths — words, actions or habits of Prophet Muhammad — on the walls of streets, describing the importance of good deeds.

The opening ceremony of the FIFA World Cup 2022 was last Sunday at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor.

Advertisement

The tournament’s official mascot, La’eeb, whose name is an Arabic word that means super-skilled player, along with the flags of all 32 participating nations were waving on the field.





Source link

Continue Reading

Sports

Ronaldo and Brazil enter World Cup fray after Swiss win

Published

on



DOHA:

Cristiano Ronaldo will aim to put his painful Manchester United divorce behind him at the World Cup on Thursday as Brazil also make their bow following a win for Switzerland in the early kick-off.

Ronaldo’s preparations for what is likely to be his last World Cup have been overshadowed by his sudden departure from Old Trafford this week after he lambasted the club in a TV interview.

Advertisement

The Portugal superstar’s form this season has been poor but he is still hoping for a final shot at glory in Qatar after leading his team to the Euro 2016 title.

The 37-year-old, whose club future is uncertain, is aiming to become the first player in history to score at five World Cups.

Portugal coach Fernando Santos said his men were entirely focused on their opening Group H match against Ghana despite the distractions of the media circus surrounding their captain.

“The players are absolutely focused, with a great spirit, convinced about what they have to do, what their objectives are and realistic about the challenges they are facing,” he said.

“Winning a competition of this magnitude is difficult.”

Advertisement

World Cup favourites Brazil launch their bid for a record-extending sixth global crown against a dangerous Serbia side.

Brazil boast a frightening array of attacking talent including Paris Saint-German forward Neymar and Real Madrid pair Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo.

Coach Tite will be wary of his Group G opponents after witnessing shock defeats for Argentina and Germany already in Qatar.

“In my opinion these players (attackers) will help Neymar because they can divide up the responsibility and create space for him,” said veteran Brazil skipper Thiago Silva.

“The atmosphere in the squad is super-healthy,” he added. “The mixture of young players and more experienced ones creates a great connection.”

Advertisement

Serbia appear a more dangerous proposition than four years ago, when they also faced Brazil in the group stage but lost 2-0 and exited in the first round.

“We are afraid of nobody in the world, not even Brazil,” said Serbia coach Dragan Stojkovic, who hopes prolific Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic will be fit for the match at the Lusail Stadium.

Switzerland and Cameroon, also in Brazil’s group, kicked off Thursday’s action in Qatar, with the Swiss winning 1-0 courtesy of a goal from Cameroon-born Breel Embolo.

The forward struck three minutes into the second half at Al Janoub Stadium as Switzerland secured a vital three points.

Granit Xhaka and Remo Freuler worked the ball out wide on the right to Xherdan Shaqiri, whose low cross into the area was swept home by an unmarked Embolo, who chose not to celebrate against his birth country.

Advertisement

“It’s quite special for him because of his links to Cameroon — I’m very happy he’s playing for us,” said Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer. “He’s always right there when you need him.”

Defeat condemned Cameroon to their eighth straight loss at World Cups — a miserable run stretching all the way back to 2002.

Son Heung-min was named in the starting line-up for South Korea’s Group H opener against Uruguay at 1300 GMT even though he was wearing a mask after suffering a fracture around his left eye earlier this month.

Uruguay coach Diego Alonso selected Luis Suarez up front, with fellow veteran Edinson Cavani on the bench.

Germany coach Hansi Flick said no member of his team was safe after their shock 2-1 defeat against Japan on Wednesday.

Advertisement

The four-time champions, who next face Spain, are facing a nightmare scenario of a second consecutive group-stage exit after their early departure in Russia in 2018.

“You can understand that we are discussing every matter of personnel and every position,” Flick said.





Source link

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2017 ShayanXtreme