Arab Sibghatullah will compete this summer at -81kg at the Paris 2024 Games, as part of the IJF Refugee Team. Currently at a training camp to prepare for the event, he answered our questions about what this participation represents for him.

"I feel absolutely great and thankful to be part of the IJF Refugee Team for the Paris Olympics. I was very happy when the team was officially announced. I’m on track and living my dream. This selection means everything to me. I can’t tell how happy I am. By competing at the Olympics I hope I can show the world I deserve to be here. It will be my first participation in the event and I’m more excited than stressed.

Currently, I train two times a day, spending my time in judo and in the gym and also joining all training camps possible. So far, so good, everything is going well.

I was born in Afghanistan, in Kunduz. That's where I started practising judo at the age of 8. It was my brother who took me to judo.

Because of the situation in my contry, I decided to flee. I moved to Germany on foot, I walked there. That's where I applied for refugee status. Today I live in Mönchengladbach.

As the Games are approaching, my days are simple: eat, sleep, train and repeat it all over again the next day. I'm trying to be the best version of myself. My biggest challenge is to be ready mentally too.

Everything has been possible so far thanks to my family and also to the IJF, the IOC and of course my coach Vahid Sarlak. My dream remains to be an Olympic and world champion. Judo is a beautiful sport, where we don’t play but we fight for our dreams.

I’m already part of the team that will participate this summer also in the mixed team event. That makes me happy and feel truly alive, as I feel I'm with a family, a judo family. I don’t even feel alone anymore. I will be proud to be part of this team this summer and fight for my team, my family. I want to do my best and show my people we can make the world a better place for everyone. We are all the same and no matter what and we can do this together.

After my sporting career, I'd like to be a coach for all refugees around the world and help them to be champions and achieve their own dreams."

Despite many difficulties, Arab Sibghatullah is a dreamer, a realistic dreamer who wants to use his experience to help other people around the world. There is no doubt that he has a lot to share.

See also