When reading the Abu Dhabi’s start list, we could have surprisingly read names of three Syrian athletes with Mohamad Maso, Ahmad Mardini and Mohamad Alsabbagh. For these elites, facing the current situation, sports means a lot, the message seemed strong and powerful.
In Mohamad Alsabbagh’s case, he’s a well-known athlete in Canada since he is living in the country, works and train in Montréal. Forced to flee Syria with his brother in the middle of the crisis in 2011, even I he was considerate as one of the best junior, he’ll put sport in the background to focus on studies. It’s only last season that the Syrian decided to come back on the course. For that, he decided to stop his studies and to have 4 part-time jobs.
After Rio, he immediately decided to go for Tokyo 2020’s project. If his enthusiasm seemed unbounded, in a few weeks, the situation got deteriorated.
Recent Donald Trump’s measure made his entrance in the US very hypothetical if not impossible. A college sportsmen (Yassine Aber), born in Québec from Arabic parents recently saw his entrance in the US refused.
This way, in Mohamad’s case, it’s many continental cups that are now forbidden, and precious ITU points. Plus, journeys for races will be even more expensive.
Unfortunately, this is not limited to the US. The 1st World Series is in 10 days in Abu Dhabi, and Mohamad just learned that United Arabic Emirates don’t deliver visas anymore to Syrian citizens.
The road for Tokyo just took a big detour…
It’s important to note that Mohamad Alsabbagh is benefiting from the help program development from the ITU. To know more about him: mo2.tokyo.