Syria-born player Aram Mahmoud made an impressive statement for the IOC Refugee Olympic Team in its badminton debut at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Mahmoud went down to Indonesia’s Jonatan Christie 21-8 21-14 in their men’s singles Group G match, but it was far from being a one-sided contest. The Syrian stood his ground well in some phases of the match, using his height and attacking shots to good effect, and Christie had to rely on his patience to eventually get the better of his opponent.
Asian Games champion Christie nodded in appreciation at the fight that he’d been given: “It was tough. This is my first time against him. I saw him at the Slovenia International Series, so I could see how he played, and I observed his special shots.”
Mahmoud relocated to the Netherlands from Syria in 2015 following unrest in his home country, and has since April 2018 been playing the circuit under the Dutch flag.
“It was amazing to play today. I’m so happy I’m here,” said Mahmoud.
“In the first game I was nervous but from the second half of the game I got more comfortable as I had nothing to lose. My shots were working.
“The last two years were special. My preparation was good, and I’m proud to be representing the refugee team. The last six months I’ve been training in Denmark.”
Mahmoud hoped he could break through to the top 100 of the rankings.
“I hope I can play much better, and if I do that I will be satisfied. This has been my dream my whole life. It would’ve been amazing if there was a crowd today, but people all around the world are still watching. My family has been following my progress, and I’m representing them as well.”
Be sure to catch The Tokyo 2020 Show LIVE at 4.30pm KL time later today.
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