Somali envoy eyes Olympic to bring change

Published on Wednesday 6th August 2008

Beijing: The delegation from war-torn Somalia held their flag-raising ceremony in the Olympic Village here on Thursday, hoping that Games can bring peace and harmony to their country.

"We have gone through many internal difficulties in the past 18 years. It is very important for us to be part of the Olympic Games and see our flag raised here. Medals are not goals for us, we come here to represent our country and take part in the Olympic reunion,"said Duran Faraha, Chef de Mission of Somalia.

Somalia has sent two athletes to Beijing. Abdinasir Said Irahim will participate in men's 5,000m race and female sprinter Samia Yusuf Omar will compete in 200m event.

"I hope sports can be used as a tool to bring peace to our country, and all the country can unite as a whole to support our two athletes."

Somalia has been in civil conflict for nearly two decades which has claimed the lives of many people and left the country's sports facilities in a mess, but the Somali Olympic Committee managed to make the two athletes well prepared for the Beijing Olympic Games.

Abdulkadir Ibrahim Gaal, President of Somali Olympic Committee, expressed the hope that the athletes will be competing to help bring Somalis together in "this turbulent times of our history."

"The main aim of attending any event is not to win medals. People are brought together in peace and harmony is more important for us at this stage," Gaal told Xinhua on Monday at the airport before the delegation left for Beijing.



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