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Syrian refugee carries Olympic torch through Athens

Ibrahim al-Hussein, a 27-year-old refugee who used to competitively swim in Syria, ran the torch through Eleonas camp
Hussein wears a prosthetic leg and works in an Athens cafe (UNHCR)

A disabled Syrian refugee carried the Olympic torch through part of Athens on Tuesday, ahead of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro summer Olympics.

The torch will make its way around the world until the games begin in Brazil this summer.

Ibrahim al-Hussein, a 27-year-old refugee who used to competitively swim in Syria, ran the torch through Eleonas camp.

Hussein wears a prosthetic leg and works in an Athens cafe. He lost part of his leg in a bombing, the BBC reported. 

He said he can swim 50 metres in 28 seconds, which is three seconds away from his personal best before he got injured, and added that he plans to participate in Greece’s disabled swimming championship in June.

He told AFP that it was an honour to carry the flame.

"I am carrying the flame for myself but also for Syrians, for refugees everywhere, for Greece, for sports, for my swimming and basketball teams," he said.

"My goal is to never give up. But to go on, to always go forward. And that I can achieve through sports."

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has allowed a team of 10 refugees to take part at the Rio Olympics.

The selection process to join the refugee team will take place in June, AFP quoted a UNHCR official as saying.