Abbas Karimi, an Afghan disabled swimmer, is set to compete in the United States’s Paralympics Swimming National Competitions in Greensboro, North Carolina on December 17-19.
Karimi, who currently lives in the US, says that he is well-prepared for the competition. He was born without arms.
The Afghan swimmer will compete in the 50m butterfly, 50m backstroke, 50m freestyle and 100m front crawl.
The head of the swimming federation of Afghanistan says that Karimi will perform well:
“Abbas Karimi has enough experience in such competitions, and I believe that Karimi will gain medals in these competitions,” said Qassem Ali Hamidi, head of the Afghanistan Swimming Federation.
CNN reported that Karimi was 16 years old when he left Afghanistan for Iran and then made his way to Turkey.
According to CNN, Karimi won 15 medals, including two Turkish national championships, while he was in Turkey.
In September 2015, former wrestling coach Mike Ives saw a video on Facebook of Karimi swimming. Karimi in the video was calling on the Afghan government to help him take part in the Rio 2016 Paralympics, the report said.
Ives, who was supporting refugee athletes post-retirement, reached out to Karimi and liaised with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to help Karimi resettle in Portland, Oregon in 2016.
Karimi has had many successes-- including taking silver at the World Para Swimming Championships in Mexico in 2017 – and announcing his qualification for his first Games at Tokyo 2020 this summer, where he'll be representing the Refugee Paralympic Team.