Sheikh Joaan meets Yusra Mardini and World Aquatics Refugee team athletes

QOC
2024-02-15 | Since 2 Month

Sheikh Joaan meets Yusra Mardini and World Aquatics Refugee team athletes

Doha, 15 February 2024 - His Excellency Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani today met with World Aquatics Refugee team athletes Mohamad Eyad Masoud and Alaa Maso and World Aquatics Championships – Doha 2024 ambassador and former refugee athlete Yusra Mardini at the Qatar Olympic Committee.

HE Sheikh Joaan, President of the Doha 2024 Organising Committee and Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) welcomed the athletes for the first-ever World Aquatics Championships to be held in Qatar and the Middle East and reiterated Qatar’s long-standing commitment to supporting refugees through sport. The QOC is a proud partner of the Olympic Refuge Foundation (ORF), and HE Sheikh Joaan serves as a board member of the organisation which supports the training of refugee athletes across the globe. 

During the meeting the athletes shared their experiences of competing in Doha with Masoud competing in the men’s 50m and 100m butterfly and Maso in the men’s 50m and 100m freestyle in Doha. Mardini retired from competitive swimming following her participation at Tokyo 2020 in the Refugee Olympic team, but the UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador is here in Doha as an Ambassador to encourage more young people in the region to get involved in aquatics. 

HE Sheikh Joaan said: “It is inspiring to see both Mohamed Eyad Masoud and Alaa Maso compete at the World Aquatics Championships, and it was a pleasure to speak with them and former Refugee Olympic Team athlete Yusra Mardini. 

“We praise World Aquatics and an increasing number of International Federations, in opening up their events to refugee athletes. This is vitally important not just in giving refugee athletes access to sport and its transformative power, but also in giving them a platform to showcase their talent, raise awareness, and inspire millions around the world.”

Masoud currently lives and trains in New Zealand and Maso in Germany with both athletes supported by the ORF, who also helped Mardini achieve her Olympic dream. During the meeting, HE Sheikh Joaan focused on the important role that sport can play in unifying different cultures and its position as a powerful tool to help refugees and other displaced people integrate into their new societies. After the meeting, Masoud emphasised the role of the ORF in ensuring refugees across the world can continue training and competing and thanked all ORF’s partners for their continued support.

“Unfortunately, conflicts across the globe have destroyed sports facilities and forced athletes to flee their homes, and their countries. With the support of the ORF and World Aquatics athletes like myself, Alaa and Yusra are able to achieve our dreams, despite the difficulties we have faced. We cannot thank them enough.” Masoud said .


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