Success stories of Palestinian achievers from all over the world

Ibraheem Debeatar

Ibraheem Debeatar

Sector : Sports, Athletes

Personal Info

  • Country of residence: Palestine
  • Gender: Male
  • Age: 0
  • Curriculum vitae :


Swimmer Ibrahim Al-Hussein (33 years old) heads to Tokyo to participate in the Paralympic Team for Refugees (the refugee team with special needs), armed with determination and will.

Ibrahim, from the city of Deir Ezzor in Syria, loved swimming and had practiced it since the age of five. However, his life completely changed after the war broke out in Syria in 2011.

In 2012, he was involved in an accident that caused him to lose his right foot while trying to help a friend who was shot. A bomb exploded and seriously injured other of his friends. Because of the war, it was not easy to get good medical treatment in Syria, and the person who helped him clean his wounds was a dentist.

Ibrahim told UN News: "At first I did not accept the situation...but I told myself if I stay like this my life will be shattered."

Ibrahim became frustrated and depressed, so he decided three months later to leave in search of safety and better treatment.

Heading to Türkiye and then Greece
Ibrahim was able to cross the Euphrates River on a raft with the help of a friend, and after his arrival in Istanbul he found generous people who gave him food and help. In one of the hospitals, he got an artificial foot, but it was not of good quality, as parts of the leg were disintegrating from time to time.

In 2014, Ibrahim decided to leave Turkey, crossing the Aegean Sea towards Greece on an inflatable boat.

Ibrahim describes Greece as his homeland, as he found people who gave him a helping hand and helped him overcome difficulties: “Greece is like a homeland. When I left Syria, I was looking for treatment, and I was looking for a homeland, and I was looking for people, and when I arrived in Greece, I found a homeland and I found people who love me.” They treated me and I found people who were like parents, who embraced me.”

In Athens, Ibrahim met a Syrian man who knew his story, and he knew a Greek doctor who specialized in prosthetics. The doctor, Angelos Chronopoulos, assisted the injured refugee free of charge.

Returning to the sport was not easy. Ibrahim searched sports clubs for a place to train, but in May 2014 a club accepted him as a wheelchair basketball player. In 2015, another club found a swimming pool where he could train.

Six months later, Ibrahim participated in one of the championships in Athens and won first place, after which he won other medals in other national championships. In 2016, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) asked him to carry the Olympic torch through the refugee shelter in Athens as a representative of refugees from around the world. Then he was asked to be on the first refugee Paralympic team at the Rio Olympics in Brazil.

Ibrahim says: "A person will one day reach his dream and goal, no matter how difficult and harsh the circumstances he went through. For me, it was a life lesson."

He emphasized that the previous time before he went to Rio, he was not following a diet program, but at the present time, as part of his preparations to participate in Tokyo, he has begun to follow a diet program to maintain the ideal weight for him.

He added, "One more thing, when I went to Brazil, I did not form a friendship with players and athletes from other countries. This time, I will seek to establish relationships with other players and presidents of other federations, so that a continuous relationship is formed, after I started establishing the refugee basketball team. need relationships."

The Refugee Basketball Team is a team founded by Ibrahim Al-Hussein to give refugees from all over the world a chance to play the sport, just like the opportunity he had.

Ibrahim says: "If you ask if you can stop eating, I will tell you, yes, I am able to stop eating, and if you ask if you can stop exercising, I will tell you that it is impossible."

He pointed out that sport for him is the most important thing in life because it makes him forget all the difficulties, such as the difficulty of asylum and the fact that he has not seen any of his family members for 10 years.

Refugee assistance
Ibrahim Al-Hussein met many people who gave him a helping hand. He is now seeking to return the favor and help the refugees as much as he can.

He says, "I did not return to sports for the sake of Ibrahim Al-Hussein's name. I returned to help refugees with disabilities, whether by treating them or securing their needs, such as chairs, crutches, and so on."

He said he did not want any refugee with special needs to go through the same difficult and difficult phase he went through, whether in Turkey or upon his arrival in Greece.

He added, "I have one problem. Unfortunately, there is a group that I am unable to help, which are Afghans, Iranians, and Africans because of the language barrier. I am upset, but I do not know how to help them."

He continued, saying: "The refugee with special needs is the most marginalized group among the refugees. That is why I try to help and provide for the needs."


Achievements and Awards

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