Paralympic swimmer Ibrahim Al Hussein talks about collaborating with Airbnb and “making my fans proud”

Update 8/23: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Yusra Mardini was competing as a paralympian. Mardini belongs to the Refugee Olympic Team.

As in 2020. the Olympics, which ended earlier this month, 2020 paralympic games was postponed for a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Games in Tokyo will start on Tuesday. San Francisco-based Airbnb is partnering with the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee (as the official sponsor of the Games) to offer new experience online involving more than 45 Paralympic athletes Jonnie Peacock plus. The experience that Airbnb wrote in its blog post posting the initiative aims to “[give] fans have the opportunity to connect with Paralympic athletes, including members of the Refugee Paralympic Team. The company said in a statement that such experience exists Now available to order.

One of the most important athletes is the Syrian swimmer Ibrahim Al Hussein, of which “Dare to dream” will tell you how he realized his dream of being a paralympic athlete.

Hussein, a member of the Refugee Paralympic Team, will take part in his second Paralympic Games in 2016. In Rio de Janeiro for the independent paralympic team. Arabic- and Greek-speaking Hussein began sailing the Euphrates at the age of five. River Dayr in the town of Zawr. His father was his coach, a two-time winner of the silver medal at the Asian Championships. Hussein would lose his leg in 2012 when a bomb exploded when he tried to help a friend from a previous attack in a war-torn country. His right leg was amputated below the knee, and metal plates had to be placed in his left leg, nose, and eye socket.

Two years after the incident, Hussein will flee to Greece via Turkey, receiving asylum there. It was there that Hussein met a doctor who offered him a prosthetic leg, even paying for it with his own money. The prosthesis allowed Hussein to return to active competition in 2015. on October 2, three years after the explosion that cost him his leg. Returning to the competition, Hussein before 2016. the Games carried the Olympic torch through a refugee accommodation center in Athens, and he was the flag bearer of the opening ceremony of the Games. He will earn later Whang Youn Dai Award for Achievement for his sporting mastery is traditionally given to the athlete who best reflects the spirit of the Paralympic Games.

Now 32-year-old Hussein still stays in Greece and leads a wheelchair basketball league for refugees from all over Europe. I was recently interviewed by email. In the mail, Hussein told me that he was “very happy” that the Tokyo Games would start, especially since this was the first time in the Japanese capital. He added that “he dreamed of this moment [competing in another Paralympics] 5 years ”. A self-proclaimed fan of Michael Phelps, he trains six days a week in preparation for the Games.

“Sport has long been a message of peace, and the Paralympic Games are a message of equality,” he said. “The Paralympic Games bring people from all over the world together in one village, you can see people from all over the world eating at one table. That’s why I enjoy bringing people together from all continents.

Hussein gets on Airbnb radar after the International Paralympic Committee introduced him to the company last year Airbnb Summer Festival. This meeting was a great fit for Airbnb as they are partners with the Refugee Paralympic Team and are committed to supporting all refugee athletes. Hussein told me that working with Airbnb was “great” and that he really appreciated the “so much support” he had given to creating the new online experience mentioned earlier.

“Airbnb supports me with translation from Arabic into English and vice versa,” he said. “I met people from all over the world, and it helped me sustain myself financially, especially in the first months of my life. [pandemic] when I did not have a job (due to Covid-19) or another source of income ”.

Airbnb is excited to partner with Paralympic athletes in online experiences. “We are excited to welcome Paralympic athletes to our host community this summer,” said Catherine Powell, Airbnb’s global hosting manager. “I’m lucky to meet several Paralympians through an online experience, and I come back each time feeling incredibly inspired and motivated by their passions and personal stories. I’m very excited that fans will have the same opportunity to connect with these athletes and take a close look at what it means to train and compete in games by booking one of these unique, interactive activities.

So far, feedback on the online experience has been positive, Hussein said. They allowed him to “meet new people,” and technology allowed him to “communicate with people from all over the world.” He added that it was a great opportunity for him. “Now Airbnb guests are following me on social media, so I feel strong and I want to train more to make my fans proud,” he said.

As for the future, Hussein told me that his biggest goal is to give refugees and people with disabilities more opportunities to play sports. He also hopes his basketball team will be able to come together in 2024. paralympic games in paris.

“I personally can’t imagine my life without swimming,” Hussein said.

August 26 Hussein will compete in the SB8 100m breaststroke event on August 29th. – S9 50m freestyle.

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