Meet Ahmad Badreddin Wais, Refugee Athlete Scholarship-holder and four-time World Championships cyclist

The Syrian-born road cyclist, who left his home country in 2014 and now lives in Switzerland, has been to four UCI Road Worlds and hopes to make the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in 2021.

By ZK Goh

Ahmad Badreddin Wais is a professional road cyclist, four-time World Championships participant, and an IOC Refugee Athlete Scholarship-holder aiming to make it to the Olympic Games as part of the IOC Refugee Olympic Team.

Badreddin, who was born in Aleppo, Syria, in 1991, took up the sport at the age of 14, moving to the capital Damascus when he joined the national set-up.

However, after war broke out in his home country, he took the decision to leave Syria and escape to Europe, making it first to Lausanne, Switzerland, where he had a friend whose family lived there.

In his new host country, he continued to train as a cyclist, and eventually moved to Hindelbank near Bern. Since fleeing Syria in 2014, he has competed in four straight UCI Road World Championships from 2017 to 2020 in the time trial.

And, last June, Badreddin led a workout on the Olympic Channel as part of Olympic Day celebrations.

Badreddin was always a promising cyclist, representing Syria at the 2009 UCI Road World Championships for Juniors in Moscow, Russia. He was the first Syrian cyclist to take part in the World Championships as a junior.

In Moscow, he competed in the time trial event, finishing 61st in a race won by now-four-time Australian national champion Luke Durbridge. Badreddin continued to develop as a cyclist, doing well enough to finish 32nd in the Asian Championships road race in 2014.

However, that summer, he escaped to Switzerland via Turkey. His family had fled to Turkey a few years prior, but he had stayed back to train.

Speaking last year to the New Indian Express, he said: "I knew I had to go.

"Those were very, very tough moments in my life."

His move to Switzerland meant three years away from competition, and he did not return to cycling until the 2017 World Championships in Bergen, Norway, where he was 60th in the time trial.

Badreddin has gone on to register increasingly impressive time trial results, finishing 16th at the 2018 Mediterranean Games and ninth at the 2019 Asian Championships.

He was also invited to compete in the 2019 Swiss nationals, coming 17th.

With his continued strong results, he's still hopeful of a spot at the Tokyo 2020 Games in 2021.