Isnin, Julai 23, 2012

Runner with no Country competes at London Games under Olympic Flag

Guor Marial ran for his life to escape a Sudanese child labor camp. Now he will get to run at the Olympics.

Despite having no passport and officially no country and at one time very little hope - the 28-year-old marathoner was cleared by the IOC to compete at the London Games under the Olympic flag.

Marial who was born in what is now South Sudan, a newly independent African country that doesn't yet have a national Olympic body was one of four competitors let in at the London Games as independent athletes.

Marial's heartwarming rise from a fearful kid who hid in a cave, fled his war-torn homeland and finally arrived in the United States as a refugee took another incredible turn on Saturday with his Olympic opportunity.

'The voice of South Sudan has been heard,' Marial told The Associated Press from his home in Flagtaff, Arizona.

'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 posted the Olympic qualifying time in his first ever marathon last year after being a cross-country runner at Iowa State University.

He will get a chance to test himself against the best in the world in the Olympic marathon on Aug. 12.

The IOC's executive board gave Marial a chance after he didn't qualify for Sudan, South Sudan or the United States under its rules. He's a permanent resident of the U.S. after arriving as a refugee when he was a kid, but doesn't yet have American citizenship.

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