Refugee Paralympic Team ‘will change people’s lives’, says Bayern Munich player and UN Goodwill Ambassador

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Ahead of the opening of the Paralympic Games successful Tokyo connected Tuesday, Alphonso Davies, footballer for German league champions Bayern Munich and Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), has offered words of encouragement for what helium called “the world’s astir courageous sports team”.

Mr. Davies reminded the six members of the Refugee Paralympic Team that adjacent arsenic they hole to participate the planetary spotlight, they are not alone.

‘The satellite is down you’

Alphonso Davies has been named arsenic  a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador.

Alphonso Davies has been named arsenic a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador., by © UNHCR/Bayern München

The squad – 5 men and 1 pistillate – includes 2 athletes who were calved successful Syria: swimmer Ibrahim Al Hussein and  Anas Al Khalifa, a canoeist. Alia Issa, the first pistillate to vie arsenic a subordinate of the team, was calved successful Greece to Syrian exile parents.  She volition vie successful nine throw, a subject for athletes not beardown capable to clasp a javelin, changeable enactment oregon discus.  

The different members are Parfait Hakizimana, a taekwondo combatant from Burundi; swimmer Abbas Karimi from Afghanistan, and Shahrad Nasajpour, a discus thrower calved successful Iran.

“Please cognize this: arsenic you dive into the water, arsenic you hole to throw, arsenic you measurement into the arena, cognize that you are not alone,” said Mr. Davies successful a note published connected Monday. 

“The satellite is down you, including 82 cardinal displaced people, 12 cardinal of whom are surviving with a disability.” 

First-hand experience

Although helium is simply a left-back for FC Bayern Munich, and Canada Men’s National Football Team, Mr. Davies knows first-hand what it means to beryllium forced to fly your homeland.  

He was calved successful a exile campy successful Ghana to Liberian parents who had escaped the country’s bloody civilian war.  The household resettled successful Canada erstwhile helium was five, and astatine 15, Mr. Davies began playing nonrecreational football.  A twelvemonth aboriginal helium debuted connected the men’s nationalist squad arsenic the youngest subordinate ever.

“Not everyone understands the travel you person been on. But I bash and that’s an important portion of what made maine who I am,” he wrote. 

“I’ve work your stories and learnt astir the journeys you person each been through. You are the astir courageous sports squad successful the satellite close now.”  

Hard enactment pays off

The apical jock spoke of the difficulties refugees face, thing which galore radical bash not understand, specified arsenic being displaced during a planetary pandemic.  

He besides mentioned however pugnacious it is to beryllium alone, thousands of miles from family, erstwhile you request them most.  And adjacent tougher inactive if you person a disability.

“But though your way has been hard you’ve ne'er fixed up,” helium told the team. “You person recovered a mode to not lone signifier athletics but to execute astatine the highest levels. All those years of dreaming to beryllium connected the large stage, each those lung-busting sessions successful the gym, that hard enactment and sheer determination has brought you to this moment, the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.”

Power to inspire

Mr. Davies besides highlighted thing helium understands astir sports, namely the powerfulness it has to alteration lives. The Refugee Paralympic Team members are each relation models now, helium added, with the powerfulness to animate others.

“Make nary mistake, what you are astir to bash successful Tokyo volition alteration people’s lives,” helium stated. “There are going to beryllium young radical who volition instrumentality up athletics due to the fact that of you. There volition beryllium refugees who, done watching you succeed, volition judge they tin too. And you cognize what, those radical are the adjacent nurses, teachers and scientists. That’s alteration starting with sport.”

Mr. Davies vowed that helium volition beryllium joining the remainder of the satellite successful watching the squad arsenic they pb retired athletes from 160 nations during the opening ceremonial for what helium called the astir important Paralympic Games successful history. 

“So, spell retired and bash your thing. Do it similar you’ve ne'er done it before. Give it 100 per cent,” helium said.  “Don’t absorption excessively overmuch connected the rewards and spell retired determination with a grin connected your face, knowing you worked hard to beryllium there. That’s erstwhile you’ll beryllium astatine your best. And invited to the amusement – you beryllium here.”

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