Wednesday 26 April 2017

Syrian refugee's heroic journey to Olympics heading for big screen

By Lucy Mapstone

The youngster made headlines for her brave efforts in saving the lives of other migrants.

The heroic story of a teenage refugee who fled Syria and went on to compete at the Rio Olympics is being turned into a film.

Yusra Mardini and her sister Sara were forced to swim for hours alongside their overloaded boat in order to arrive in Greece after fleeing from Damascus as civil war broke out in 2015.

Yusra, now 19, saved the lives of other Syrian migrants by pushing the boat for three and a half hours when it ran into difficulty in the Aegean Sea.

From Greece, Yusra and her sister travelled through Europe and eventually reached Berlin, Germany, where they stayed.

After gaining international attention for her heroic efforts, Yusra – who had started training at a swimming club upon her arrival in Berlin – was chosen by the International Olympic Committee for its first ever Refugee Olympic Team at the Summer Games in Rio.

Yusra won her qualifying heat of the 100 metres butterfly at the sporting event last summer, and her triumph was considered one of the highlights of the Olympics.

British film production company Working Title Films has agreed to buy the rights to the story, with Billy Elliot and The Reader director Stephen Daldry tipped to helm the project.

Press Association

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