The IOC Refugee Team cyclist was first out of the blocks at the Fuji International Speedway, inspiring millions with his achievement.
The hot humid, weather at Tokyo 2020 made for difficult cycling conditions and the Syrian-born athlete looked exhausted as he crossed the line having fully emptied the tank.
In the end, the Wais finished in last position, +13.36.27 adrift of first-place.
It was a fantastic effort for a cyclist that not so long ago was fleeing war in his homeland, leading to a few years away from competition.
Ahmad Badreddin Wais, Refugee Athlete Scholarship-holder and four-time World Championships cyclist who left his home country in 2014 and now lives in Switzerland, has been to four @UCI_cycling Road Worlds and hopes to make the @Tokyo2020 Olympic Games in 2021. #StrongerTogether— Refugee Olympic Team (@RefugeesOlympic) April 7, 2021
Badreddin took up cycling at the age of 14 in Syria. After being invited to join the national set-up, in 2009 he became the first Syrian to compete at the Road World Championships for Juniors.
However, after war broke out in his home country he and in 2013 his family took the decision to escape Syria.
The plan was to travel to Belgium. But five months into their arduous journey they passed through Switzerland, fell in love with the mountains and lakes, and stayed. After successfully claiming asylum in Lausanne, Badreddin was able to resume his training in safety.
Despite now being safe, the journey had taken it's toll.
The young athlete would not compete again for three years due to the emotional turmoil, before making his return at the 2017 World Championships in Bergen, Norway, where he finished 60th in the time trial.
After returning to competition, he was able to clinch a place on a professional cycling team, and competed in the four-consecutive UCI Road World Championships from 2017-2020.
After learning of his story, the IOC offered him a Refugee Athlete Scholarship, and his dream to compete in the Olympics started to look like it may come true.
By competing at the Olympics in Japan, he has shown that people can achieve their dreams no matter where they come from.
You May Like