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Maher Abu Rmeileh: First Palestinian to compete at Olympics

07-10-2012 16:56 BJT Special Report:2012 London Olympic Games |

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While sporting super powers like China and the USA will no doubt battle for supremacy on the gold medal tally at the upcoming Games, for many other nations their pursuits are much more closely aligned with the true spirit of the Games - the joy of taking part. And for one competitor from Palestine, his Olympic selection marks a double moment of history for his country.

When Maher Abu Rmeileh stands on the judo mat at the London 2012 games, he will become the first Palestinian to compete at an Olympics on merit.

In the past, Palestinian swimmers and track athletes made it to the Olympics care of the IOC's wild card program. But in June, the 28-year-old judoka ensured his participation at a qualifying event in Japan.

Maher Abu Rmeileh, judoka of Palestinian Olympic Team, said, "I am proud that I am the first Palestinian to qualified for the London Olympics and to do so on my abilities. Of course, I feel very, very happy because this was my dream and finally I fulfilled it. I am sure that every athlete dreams of competing at the Olympics by qualifying on my own."

Palestinian judoka Maher Abu Rmeileh pauses during a training session at a gym in
Arab East Jerusalem June 20, 2012. When Abu Rmeileh makes his bow on the Olympic
judo mat in London this month, he will become the first Palestinian to compete at
a Games on merit. Picture taken June 20, 2012.

Now Maher is like many athletes from smaller nations, where sport is a part-time job, his full-time is trying to provide for his family and for him that means working at his father’s shop in Jerusalem’s old city.

Maher Abu Rmeileh, judoka of Palestinian Olympic Team, said, "The training is part of my life. I open the shop here in the morning and after I close the shop, at around five or six o’clock, I go to train in judo. I am trying to organise between training and my working life in a good way"

Because he must be constantly training and working the support of his family has been a necessity in helping him achieve his Olympic dream.

Kifah Abu Rmeileh, wife of Olympian Maher Abu Rmeileh, said, "I am so happy that my husband is travelling to the London Olympics. I always encourage him and I always will."

Maher Abu Rmeileh, judoka of Palestinian Olympic Team, said, "Our parents and grandparents were athletes and they loved sport. Most of the Abu Rmeileh family is into sport. We have so many athletes in the family, such as my uncles, my brothers and father. Now we are at a high level in the country, and if people hear the name Abu Rmeileh, they say ’yes, they are very capable athletes and can compete and can reach an Olympic level."

Abu Rmeileh has also been given another honour, as he will carry the Palestinian flag at the London Olympics opening ceremony on July 27th.

Palestinian judoka Maher Abu Rmeileh (bottom) spars during a training session at
a gym in Arab East Jerusalem June 20, 2012.

Editor:Wang Chuhan |Source: CNTV.CN

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