Radio Erena: February 25, 2014
A refugee who escaped turmoil in Africa won Malta’s half-marathon on Sunday.
Ibrahim Hussen Ahmed, 25, had been hoping simply to complete the 21km course despite a leg injury.
“I can’t say I will win but God willing I will try,” he had told The Sunday Times of Malta.
Mr Hussen was born to Eritrean parents in Sudan but neither country recognises him as their citizen.He said running is the thing he knows best and he used to train twice a day in Sudan.
He moved to Libya in 2012 and was among more than 1,800 asylum seekers and irregular migrants who arrived in Malta by boat that year. The UN refugee office in Malta estimates that just a third of all those who have arrived by boat since 2002 remain on the island.
Unable to swim, he recalled being terrified of the sea crossing. He kept his head covered the whole way, until he was rescued by the Armed Forces of Malta. After being released from mandatory detention, Mr Hussen joined St Patrick’s Athletic Club to continue training.
The talented athlete has won a number of sports awards since arriving on the island, including the 2012-2013 Malta Amateur Athletics Association road running league.