LONDON / REFUGEE OLYMPIC SWIMMER

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15-Feb-2019 00:01:36
Inspired by US swimming legend Michael Phelps, 24-year old Syrian refugee Eid Aljazairli, who lives in London, is training for the Olympics. Barely 12 months ago, he couldn’t swim. UNHCR

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STORY: LONDON / REFUGEE OLYMPIC SWIMMER
TRT: 1:41
SOURCE: UNHCR
RESTRICTIONS: PLEASE CREDIT UNHCR ON SCREEN
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 17 JANUARY 2019, LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM

SHOTLIST:

17 JANUARY 2019, LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM

1. Close up, Eid Aljazairli looking at his phone showing Olympics
2. SOUNDBITE (English) Eid Aljazairli, refugee from Damascus:
“I just came across a video about Michael Phelps.”
3. Close up, Eid Aljazairli looking at his phone showing Olympics
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Eid Aljazairli, refugee from Damascus:
“My dream: I just want to go to the Olympics.”
5. Tracking shot, Aljazairli walking into the pool area
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Eid Aljazairli, refugee from Damascus:
“I’ve never thought I’m going to swim or do anything; even like I’ve never swum before in Syria or anything.”
7. Med shot, Aljazairli training at pool
8. Wide shot, Aljazairli swimming
9. Close up, Aljazairli doing flip turn under water
10. Tracking shot, Aljazairli swimming
11. Med shot, Aljazairli working on computer
12. Wide shot, Aljazairli working on computer among students
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Stella Creasy, Member of Parliament, United Kingdom:
“For Eid to have taken the journey that he’s taken and that not be the end of his story, that’s something very powerful for all of us.”
14. Close up, Aljazairli studying
15. Wide shot, Eid descending stairs
16. SOUNDBITE (English) Stella Creasy, Member of Parliament, United Kingdom:
“We really want him to win that medal and we just really want him to do what he’s capable of and for everybody else to see that.”
17. Wide shot, Aljazairli doing pushups
18. SOUNDBITE (English) Eid Aljazairli, refugee from Damascus:
“I’m here because of the situation in my country and that makes me more stronger and just fight more for my dream and do anything to get there.”
19. Wide shot, Aljazairli swimming
20. Close up, Aljazairli swimming
21. SOUNDBITE (English) Eid Aljazairli, refugee from Damascus:
“It’s all good. After this session, I feel so much better. Yeah!”


STORYLINE:

Inspired by US swimming legend Michael Phelps, 24-year old Syrian refugee Eid Aljazairli, who lives in London, is training for the Olympics. Barely 12 months ago, he couldn’t swim.

Training for four hours daily at a 25-metre pool in east London, Aljazairli has shown such determination he has won over the sceptics and caught the attention of coaches, fellow swimmers, over 140 donors who are supporting his efforts, as well as Stella Creasy, his local MP.

Creasy said, “For Eid to have taken the journey that he’s taken and that not be the end of his story, that’s something very powerful for all of us.”

Aljazairli, who nearly drowned in a wooden boat off the coast of Greece when fleeing Syria, could be forgiven for not wanting to go near water again. Instead, he reset his life after seeing the Phelps phenomenon on YouTube. As soon as he could afford a membership, he showed up at the local swimming pool, determined to teach himself.

In October, Aljazairli’s hopes got another lift. At a meeting in Buenos Aires, the International Olympic Committee announced that it would field a team of refugees – as it did in Rio in 2016 – under the IOC flag at the 2020 Toyko Games.

Though Aljazairli has no guarantee of a place on the team, it gives him a concrete goal.

Aljazairli said, “I’m here because of the situation in my country and that makes me more stronger and just fight more for my dream and do anything to get there.”
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Geographic Subjects
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UNHCR
Alternate Title
unifeed190215a
Asset ID
2357945