Anis’ inspirational message

Rami Anis is representing the Refugee Olympic Team and following his swimming heats, had an inspirational message.

The swimmer fled war-torn Syria to Turkey last year, where he paddled to Greece in a dinghy using tree branches for oars. 

After settling in Belgium, he used it as his base to train for the Games.

On Wednesday, Anis competed in the 100m freestyle heats, where he would rank 56th out of 59 swimmers.

However, just competing is enough for Anis, as he hopes tto use his status to spread a message of hope.

"I want to shine the spotlight on the plight of refugees," said the 25-year-old. 

"I want to show the best possible image of refugees or Syrian people, or anyone who has suffered injustice in the world, and tell them to not lose hope…never lose hope.

"My message is no-one has to give up on their dreams because life is about not giving up. I hope that every refugee athlete will get the same support as we have so they can achieve their dreams and achieve what we have achieved.

"I hope at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, there will be no refugees and we will be able to go back home. Nothing is nearer and dearer to my heart than my homeland."

Anis is one of ten athletes on the Refugee Olympic team, each of whom have their own horror story. Anis acknowledged that they are a lucky select few representing millions of refugees. 

"We're all really proud to be part of this team," he added. 

"It's amazing to be in this team because we are representing people who have lost their homeland, who've had their homes burned, who were killed, and now we are representing them in a good way. It's an amazing feeling."

Anis will take part in his second event, the 100m butterfly, at the Olympics Aquatic Stadium later on Thursday.