Syrian Taekwondo Competitor Wael Al Faraj Began Training in a Refugee Camp

Syrian refugee Wael Al Faraj Began is heading to the 2020 Olympics for taekwondo.

“I have been staying in the Azraq camp for at least four years,” he explained. “I was living in Syria safely and my life was going all right. And then one day, some problems happened in Syria, bombing a firing took place. So me and my family decided to come to Jordan for our safety.”

Wael came to the Azraq refugee camp in 2014 during the height of the Syrian Civil War.

“I didn’t use to practice sports. I just used to watch Bruce Lee’s movies,” he explained. “So that got me eager to do Kung Fu like him.”
A taekwondo exhibition in the camp caught Wael’s eye and he asked if the camp could hire a trainer, which led to Coach Asef Sabah to come in.

“When I first met Wael, as an experienced taekwondo trainer, I had that feeling that he would be a special player,” the coach explained.
Wael became the first student in the camp to achieve a black belt, after training for just a year and a half. Then he achieved the unthinkable—being asked to participate in the Olympics. He is currently training to be part of the 2020 refugee team.