Refugee athlete Aram Mahmoud motivated after Olympic experience

    IOC Refugee Olympic Team Athlete aram mahmoud fulfilled his dream of becoming an Olympian at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

    The Syrian refugee, who resides in the Netherlands, appreciated the opportunity to play against some of the best badminton players in the world.

    Reading: A. mahmoud olympic games tokyo 2020

    “I love badminton more than before because I know what I need and I know what I can do if I work harder”. – aram mahmoud to

    mahmoud, ranked 172nd in the world, made his olympic debut against indonesia’s world number seven jonatan christie and played his second match of the group stage against loh kean yew of singapore.

    The 24-year-old lost both of his matches in a row, but feels he has gained invaluable experience playing against such high caliber opponents.

    “it is very good to be able to see or feel the pressure of the best players. I know now I have to work harder and harder to be at that little level to be able to challenge them,” she added.

    being in the games has also helped him identify areas where he needs to improve.

    “My first lesson is that no matter how big the tournament is, I have to stay focused.”

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    “In practice I have no pressure and I feel free. but here, [it felt] like it was squeezing me. and I’m not giving myself the space to give it my all,” she added.

    but with the benefit of his early games under his belt, mahmoud is in a much better position to understand how much he has to put in to get where he wants.

    “No matter how hard I worked before, it wasn’t enough. so I hope to have to work harder than I have.”

    but overall mahmoud is happy with his outing in japan, “i think i showed people i could do something.”

    “To all the people around the world, thank you for all the support. To my family in Syria, lots of love and I hope you are proud of me now.” – aram mahmoud at

    mahmoud is now looking to continue training in badminton, but will try to spend more time in the immediate future completing his studies.

    “Now I have to give space to my school, to my education. I will also play tournaments, I will play competitions and I will also practice. but I will give more time for school”

    With the ioc refugee olympic team confirmed for paris 2024, mahmoud can continue to benefit from the ioc refugee athlete scholarship program and further develop as an athlete.

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    rose nathike is an athlete making her second appearance at the games as part of the IOC Refugee Olympic team.

    The South Sudanese refugee was the flag bearer at Rio 2016 and will once again compete in the 800m in Tokyo.

    The team was the second group of athletes to enter the stadium for the opening ceremony, and the 28-year-old remembers how special that moment was for her.

    nathike said, “when we were marching to the stadium, everyone, the people inside the stadium were cheering for the refugees from the team.”

    “they applaud us and we are very happy because people cheer us on.”

    yiech pur biel ran the men’s 800m for the IOC’s first refugee Olympic team and is a representative athlete for the team this time in Tokyo.

    another refugee from south sudan and now a goodwill ambassador for unhcr, biel said he had seen great improvement in the initiative which aims to use sport as a tool for the vulnerable population.

    he said, “in 2016 we only had nine athletes competing in the olympics, but now we have 29 athletes competing. so it’s a great honor for the team to increase.”

    “Our goal is to show the world that it’s not about competing. We can do anything and we can even get a medal.” – coi yiech pur biel refugee olympic team athletes representative

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