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Syria’ only Female Olympic Swimmer Inspires a New Generation | Athletes Under Fire


There is no doubt that
during this crisis Syria has lost plenty of
athletes and swimmers. It’s not fair that Syria counts
on only one female swimmer. I mean to create more
than one “Bayan” in Syria. (IN THE DARKEST CORNERS (OF WAR-TORN NATIONS (THE OLYMPIC SPIRIT ENDURES) (ATHLETES UNDER FIRE) (BAYAN JUMAH,
SWIMMING, SYRIA) I’m Bayan Jumah from
Aleppo. I am Syria’s national
team swimmer. My brothers used to be
national champions. They used to take me to
the swimming pool with them. I kept training until
I competed in the nationals. My first Olympic appearance was
in the 2008 Games. My second time was
at the London Olympics, where I competed in the
100m freestyle event. Thank God, I got a good time and a new record for me. If I am to talk about the most
important event in my life, it’s the Rio Olympics. I raced the 50m freestyle. I was so happy with my score as one of the best 50
swimmers in this category and the best Arab
swimmer in this race. (BAYAN BECAME
A THREE-TIME OLYMPIAN (WHILE SYRIA WAS AT WAR) (SINCE 2011 MOST OF
THE NATION’S ATHLETES (HAVE FLED THE COUNTRY) (TODAY BAYAN IS THE ONLY FEMALE
OLYMPIC SWIMMER IN SYRIA) (DAMASCUS, SYRIA) The war has affected swimming
in Syria. Families migrated taking their children away,
so we lost national swimmers. (BAYAN WANTS HER RESULTS TO
INSPIRE (A NEW GENERATION OF SWIMMERS) I hope I am a source of
inspiration and pride to all kids abroad
and in Syria. If I make it to Tokyo,
it will be my fourth Olympics, God willing. I will start
working for it now. It’s my main goal. (IN 2 WEEKS, BAYAN IS COMPETING (FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 8 MONTHS
IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC) (SHE HOPES A GOOD RESULT
WILL REACH (A HUGE AUDIENCE ACROSS SYRIA) There’s no rival for
Bayan in Syria, she’s the only swimmer. If she drops swimming
at any time, there won’t be any more
swimming in Syria. Bayan is a real talent. If Bayan gets an ideal
training environment, I’m positive she will be
one of the five best swimmers at the Tokyo Olympics. (BAYAN HAS COPED WITH INFERIOR
TRAINING FACILITIES (THROUGHOUT HER CAREER) (WAR CONDITIONS RESTRICT THE
POWER SUPPLY (TO THE NATIONAL POOL) One of the biggest challenges
we face is the cold water. I have to move
to keep my body warm. I keep swimming,
but my lips and muscles turn blue every time. It’s real suffering. It’s not the ideal environment
for an Olympic athlete who has won international
competitions, but we must persist
despite the conditions. Can you take a photo
of us with her? Sorry for bothering you, I’m so proud of our champion. I hope they will become
world champions. She deserves better. She deserves better
conditions than those in Syria. (BAYAN LEFT HER FAMILY WHEN
SHE WAS 12 (TO PURSUE HER SWIMMING CAREER) When I was first invited
to join the national team in Damascus, it was very hard for me. I was away from my family,
living by myself with my own responsibilities. (BAYAN’S FAMILY LIVE 400KM AWAY
IN THE CITY OF ALEPPO) (WHILE BAYAN WAS TRAINING FOR
RIO 2016 (ALEPPO WAS DEVASTATED) All communications
in Aleppo were shut down. I was in Damascus
without knowing about my family for 10 days. The worst 10 days
in my whole life. (AS BAYAN FINALIZES PREPARATION (FOR THE CZECH EVENT,
PLANS CHANGE) (THE ALEPPO ROAD HAS REOPENED (AND SHE HAS 24 HOURS TO SEE
HER FAMILY) (ALEPPO, SYRIA) Because of siege,
this road is often blocked, so I can’t see my family. This is actually the
hardest part. No matter how hard
it was for us, it was nothing compared
to her. She suffers more. But God gives her
strength to do more. You’re the warmth of
my soul, my mother I don’t know what runs
in my veins Is it your love
or my blood? We’re so proud of
my sister Bayan. She achieved success
under such hard crisis. She made all Syrians happy. Thank God for her successes. It’s very sad, especially when I see the
destruction in Aleppo and people’s suffering,
how hard it is and where they are now. (THROUGH THE WAR, BAYAN HAS
BEEN DETERMINED (TO REMAIN A ROLE MODEL) (SHE WANTS HER ACHIEVEMENTS (TO MOTIVATE A NEW GENERATION
OF SWIMMERS) Look at what happened
to this pool. I was raised here. This
is where I started swimming. I spent my childhood here
with my brothers and friends. It’s empty. There are no people
any more. It’s a cafe now. It hurts me deeply. I mean to create more
than one “Bayan” in Syria. It’s not fair that Syria counts
on only one female swimmer. I hope I can help train
a new generation to participate in
international championships. (FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE
RACING AT RIO 2016 (BAYAN LEAVES SYRIA TO COMPETE
INTERNATIONALLY) (HRADEC KRÁLOVÉ,
CZECH REPUBLIC) This competition is
important for me because I have to compete a lot,
and this for me is the first competition this
year after the Olympic Games. I would be very happy
if I can get good results. Swimming, it’s my life, so when I achieve good results
that’s all that I want. (THE GRAND PRIX
OF HRADEC KRÁLOVÉ (ATTRACTS THE BEST SWIMMERS
FROM CENTRAL EUROPE) This is a qualifying
possibility for our swimmers for the European and
World Championships this year. We have a lot of local swimmers and also some
international swimmers from Syria, Poland,
Germany, Slovakia and Austria. Lane number four,
Bayan Jumah from Syria. It’s my dream to be
the fourth Olympic Games 2020. And all that I do,
it is to be there in Tokyo. If it’s the fourth,
it will be an amazing thing
for the Syrian people. I achieved some goals
and I have more. (BAYAN CLAIMED SECOND PLACE IN
THE 100M FREESTYLE IN 58.60) It was good, not my best time, but it was good for the
first competition this year. I’ve been doing this
for 20 years and I’m still anxious before
every race that Bayan does, but today she performed
very well. When I’m getting awarded and the national anthem is
playing, with the flags waving, it makes me forget
all the suffering I’ve had in my life
and in my training. I hope to be
a reason for happiness and pride for the people
of Syria. (BAYAN’S RESULTS WERE BROADCAST
ACROSS SYRIA) (SHE RETURNED TO ALEPPO (AND HELPED REOPEN HER
CHILDHOOD POOL) (BAYAN IS NOW TEACHING KIDS
TO SWIM (AND CONTINUES TRAINING FOR
TOKYO 2020)

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