The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games are set to start later this morning and will be held until 18th September 2016.
The Brazilian city, with its stunning landmarks, will provide a perfect backdrop for the pinnacle of each para-athlete’s career: the Paralympic Games.
Around 4,350 athletes from more than 160 countries will travel to Rio to compete in 528 medal events in 22 different sports.
Joining these Athletes for the first time will be a Reffugee Team made up of both Iranian & Syrian Athletes.
Syrian swimmer Ibrahim Al Hussein and Iranian discus thrower Shahrad Nasajpour who fled their countries will form the refugee team at the Rio Paralympics.
27 year old Hussein who lost his leg in a rocket strike during the Syrian conflict will swim in the 50m and 100m freestyle in the Games which start later today.
He will march behind the Paralympic flag with Shahrad Nasajpour, an Iranian with cerebral palsy who has sought asylum in the United States.
Hussein carried the Olympic torch in his new homeland in Greece when it passed through a refugee camp in Athens last April.
Hussein, who only found out recently that he would be in the Paralympics, had this to say’ “I was so happy I couldn’t sit still,” he said. “I wanted to sleep, but I couldn’t. It was such a wonderful feeling.”
Hussein has been swimming with a Greek league for athletes with disabilities. He walks with a prosthetic leg that was given to him by a private doctor in Greece.
Hussein’ swimming times are a few seconds off his personal bests from when he had use of both legs. But he said they are still improving.
As with the Olympics in Rio this month, it will be the first time a refugee team will take part in the Paralympics. More than 4,300 para-athletes are expected to take part.
Original Article by LOUISA GOULIAMAKI / AFP
Video Couresty of Suzanne Sumers / You Tube Channel