No passport, no country;Guor Marial makes it to London Games

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Guor Marial allowed to participate at London Olympics
London, Jul 25: Here is an athlete who ran for his life to escape a Sudanese child labour camp and has finally got a chance to run at the Olympics. The Sudan athlete has no country and no passport yet, he has got an opportunity to participate in London Olympics 2012.

The South Sudan marathoner Guor Marial, has now found a new home in United States after he fled from his war-toned homeland and arrived in the US as a refugee.

His life seems to have undergone many changes ever since he fled from his hometown. Due to this, he doesn't have a passport nor a country.

"The voice of South Sudan has been heard," Marial told The Associated Press.

"The South Sudan has finally got a spot in the world community. Even though I will not carry their flag in this Olympic Games, the country itself is there."

"The dream has come true. The hope of South Sudan is alive."

Marial is one of the four competitors who were let in at the London Olympics 2012 as independent athletes. Three other athletes are from Netherlands Antilles who have been allowed to participate under the Olympic flag, but Marial's case has been unique, said IOC Spokesperson Mark Adams.

"He's actually running times I'm told wouldn't get him a medal but could get him in the top 10 to 20," Adams said.

"He's come from out of nowhere. He's done two times, one of 2:14 and one of 2:12. Amazing."

The South Sudan athlete, being a cross-country runner at Iowa State University, posted the Olympic qualifying time in his first ever marathon last year. He will be participating in the Olympic Marathon to be held on Aug 12, the last day of the Olympic Games.

Following IOC's decision to allow Marial to participate in the Games, the South Sudan athlete said, "I was getting ready to go for a run," Marial said. "Wow. This is so exciting. It's hard to describe. I'm speechless. The body temperature is up. I have to train like an Olympian now."

Marial moved to United States 12 years ago. Meanwhile, his country South Sudan which was declared independent in 2011 following decades of civil war, has not yet established a National Olympic Committee and could not send a team to the London Games.

From a person who used to hate running, to become a marathoner, and now an Olympian, Gour Marial's story is sure going to inspire every individual. With an ambition in life, one can achieve even the impossible as the athlete has now become an Olympian when he did not have a country to represent and no passport.

This in itself will inspire everyone to think beyond their limits and aim for the sky.

OneIndia News

Story first published: Wednesday, July 25, 2012, 15:03 [IST]
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