He took part in the second heat of the Men’s 100m breaststroke SB8 held at the famed Tokyo Aquatics Centre.
Al Hussein made history two days ago when he carried the flag of the Refugee Paralympic Team during the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games at the Olympic Stadium.
Explaining his pride at being selected to be a member of the Paralympic Refugee Team, the Syrian-born swimmer said: “The Refugee Paralympic Team is more than a team, it’s a family.”
“It’s giving hope to the 12 million displaced people around the world with a disability. I want to send them a message that nothing is impossible to continue things no matter what happens. I am here as an example.”
A promising swimmer from a very young age, Al Hussein’s sporting career was disrupted by the war in Syria. Whilst on his way to help a friend, a bomb exploded, which left him with a life-changing injury and in the wheelchair.
With the conflict intensifying in Syria, Al Hussein fled to Turkey and eventually settled in Greece, where he rediscovered his love for swimming.
Just six months after taking the sport again, the athlete won Gold and Silver in the Greek National Swimming Championship. He took part in Rio 2016 representing the first ever Independent Paralympic Team with discus thrower Shahrad Nasajpour, an Iranian living in the US.
“The day I entered Rio, just thinking I was going for the Paralympic Games, it was the most amazing day I have ever felt. To arrive for the Olympic or Paralympic Games, that was my childhood dream,” he told the International Paralympic Committee.
Five years later, Al Hussein represented the Paralympic Refugee Team along with Parfait Hakizimana (taekwondo), Nasajpour (athletics), Alia Issa (athletics), Anas Al Khalifa (canoe sprint) and Abbas Karimi (swimming). (Agencies)