Born in Afghanistan, Farid was separated from his family and became a refugee when he was just seven years old.

After a long, perilous journey, Farid eventually found refuge in Portugal, where boxing provided him with a means to deal with past trauma.

Farid is training towards Tokyo 2020 as one of 48 IOC Refugee Athlete Scholarship-holders.

Sport changed my life. Because I had nothing, and I didn’t even have a dream. In my place as a refugee, when you are on a long journey and you are always in the refugee sanctuaries and the education sanctuaries without having anything, you cannot even dream – because you need courage to dream.

But when I started sport, first I started to forget my trauma, and give all of that negative energy out to the punchbag. Then I started to learn how to deal with my trauma and stress. And then I started to see that I could make sport my life – and each day my dream became bigger. And today, I want to go to the Olympic Games, which are the biggest sports event in the world.

With every darkness there’s a light

I always try to see the positive side of problems. Maybe some of you were sad about the Olympic Games being postponed, but for me, it was an opportunity to prepare one year longer and learn some more techniques and skills.

When I was nine years old, I was in a prison for traveling in an illegal way to Europe – and life was way harder. But even then, as a child, I was trying to see the positive side of that. I was drawing and painting to try to pass the time because with every darkness there’s a light. Every day the night comes, but the next day the light will come back.

If you look at the negative side of the problems, you get more sad and more stressed. But there’s always a good side to the problems, which you may not be able to see at the time. I approach it like that, and then each problem becomes easier to deal with.

Patience and resilience

I have learned from my past that the most important thing is patience. Nothing will stay forever. You may have a problem today, and then tomorrow another problem. But they will pass.

Resilience is a choice, because if you give up then you are not really an athlete. All of us are resilient – whether we lose or win – if we are trying every day to do our best. Instead of thinking about what you will lose, think about what you can change.

Athlete365 will continue to support boxers on their journey to Tokyo 2020 on our dedicated microsite, In Your Corner. 

INSTEAD OF THINKING ABOUT WHAT YOU WILL LOSE, THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU CAN CHANGE.



FARID WALIZADEH