August 6th, 2016
Saving lives by her swimming
Everyone from the refugee team that is participating in this year’s Olympics for the first time, has witnessed their shares of challenges and plights. 18-year-old Yusra Mardini who is also a part of the refugee team — the swimmer from Syria — has an extraordinary story to share. Mardini and her sister have helped to save the lives of 20 people, including their own after they jumped off their sinking boat into the cold waters of Aegean Sea and pushed their boat to land by swimming for almost three-and-a-half hours.
A talented swimmer shook by unrest
Mardini was talented swimmer from the war-torn province of Damascus in Syria. As unrest escalated in Syria, the country became more unstable. Mardini and her sister left Syria, unable to bear the situation at home. They travelled through Lebanon and Turkey and reached Greece. After leaving Turkey on a motor boat, which was meant for six people but carrying 20, the boat began to fail. A majority on board didn’t know how to swim. Thus, left with no other choice, Mardini and her sister Sarah jumped into the sea and swam for more than three hours pushing the boat from capsizing and reaching Lesbos. With one hand attached to the rope of the boat, both the swimmers drove the boat to the coast. They swam for their life and as well for the lives of those who were on board.
Mardini has now settled in Berlin, Germany. Here, a Coach Sven Spannekrebs began recognizing her potential and considered Mardini for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. But her road to the Games turned out to be a much quicker path. Mardini trains for two to three hours every morning, attends school and then continues to train in the evening, reports Independent. Her Rio stint begins Saturday with the women’s 100-metre butterfly and freestyle heats.