Rio 2016: Inspirational refugee Mardini revels in swimming victory


Yusra Mardini was swimming for her life when she fled Syria in 2015 and just a year later the inspirational teenager won the first heat in the women's 100 metres butterfly at the Rio Olympics.

Mardini embarked on a perilous journey across the Mediterranean after fleeing war-torn Syria with her sister and has since settled in Germany.

The courageous 18-year-old was named as one of 10 members of the first ever Refugee Olympic Team for the Games in Brazil and rose to the occasion on day one, touching the wall first in the opening 100m butterfly heat.

Mardini's time of one minute and 9.21 seconds did not see her through to the semi-finals, but she savoured the experience.

"Everything was amazing. It was the only thing I ever wanted was to compete in the Olympics. I had a good feeling in the water, so I'm happy for that.

"It's an incredible feeling and I'm happy to see all the great swimmers here. Competing with all these great champions is exciting."

Reflecting on winning her heat, Mardini said: "I've only been back swimming for two years, so we're only now getting back to my levels of before. But I'm pleased."