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Two refugee athletes to compete at Rio Paralympics

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The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has announced that two refugee athletes will compete as part of an independent team at the Rio Paralympic Games, starting from September 7.

Syrian-born Greece based swimmer Ibrahim Al Hussein and Iranian discus thrower Shahrad Nasajpour, now living in America, will participate for the Independent Paralympic Athletes (IPA) team.

Al Hussein, 27, was thrust into the limelight during the Rio Summer Olympics Torch Relay event, when he carried the torch in Athens, Greece, where he is currently living and training with the help of the Hellenic Paralympic Committee. He will compete in the 50 metre and 100m freestyle categories.

After carrying the Rio Olympic Torch, Al Hussein said competing at the Paralympic Games would be a "beautiful opportunity" and now it seems his dream will become a reality.

"I have been dreaming of this for 22 years," he said on Tuesday.

"I thought my dream had gone when I lost my leg but now it is back for real. I can't believe I am going to Rio. I want to send a message to all those injured that they too can achieve their dreams," he said.

Nasajpour will compete in the men's discus, F37 class. He suffers from cerebral palsy.