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Refugee and tenacious Taekwondo expertise looking forward to Tokyo 2020

Stone, tiles, and dirt.

All a far cry from the normal taekwondo mat.

However for IOC Refugee Athlete Scholarship-holder and Iranian refugee, Dina Pouryounes, at occasions they had been all she was capable of prepare on.

As she moved from one asylum centre to the subsequent, the 29-year-old knew, that to maintain her dream of being knowledgeable taekwondo and Olympic athlete alive, she needed to adapt. Even when it meant risking a career-ending damage.

The disparity between her coaching situations and that of her rivals is one thing Pouryounes, now residing within the Netherlands, is aware of.

It motivates her to work more durable to push her potential.

Though she could lack their degree of help, few can certainly compete together with her sporting origin story.

“Once I was three years outdated, I began taekwondo,” Dina shares, smiling.

Each Pouryounes’ dad and mom had been Grandmasters of taekwondo. They ran a coaching centre underneath their house in Iran. Naturally, they introduced their child daughter alongside and shortly educated her from there.

And it wasn’t too lengthy earlier than the younger athlete’s expertise started to shine.

At simply seven years outdated, Pouryounes received Gold on the Iranian taekwondo Youngsters’s Nationwide Championships. Constructing on that success, she would go on to symbolize Iran within the nationwide crew for eight years.

On the finish of 2014 the then 23-year-old launched into a odyssey in direction of the Netherlands.

Her displacement didn’t cease as soon as she arrived on the asylum seekers centre in Ter Apel, the biggest everlasting reception centre within the nation.

In seven years, Pouryounes would come to know six completely different asylum centres throughout 5 Dutch cities. One of many solely constants all through her expertise, was her dedication to practising taekwondo.

Determined to maintain her sporting prospects alive, Pouryounes reached out to Dutch-Iranian Grasp, Manni Zareei.

His son, Ramin Padidar, fatefully discovered her message and the daddy and son started to educate Pouryounes. With their assist and experience, the 29-year-old has gone on to win greater than 35 worldwide medals, together with gold on the Ramus Sofia Open in March of this yr.

As of at the moment, the Pouryounes sits 14th within the Olympic rankings.

On point out of Tokyo Olympic Video games 2020, set in 2021, Dina’s face lights up. She says:

“To win a medal could be an unimaginable feat. It could present the world that refugees aren’t pathetic and are literally very hard-working folks.

“We’ve to work a lot more durable than athletes for causes you wouldn’t even take into consideration, which appear so regular to them. They’re of their properties with the help of their household and the help of their nation. They’ve docs, psychologists, nutritionists, and all kinds of additional help.

“The challenges are so nice for us that even when we qualify, it reveals what a unprecedented feat we will obtain.”

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