Ghadeer Bouta will make history this week in Hungary when she becomes the first refugee athlete to compete at a stand up paddling world championships.

It will fulfil a dream for sport-loving Bouta, who worked as a sports coach for young children between her studies in Syria before fleeing the war-torn country with her young daughter in 2015.

Her terrifying and dangerous journey to freedom eventually took her to Berlin.

“My trip was very difficult,” Bouta said.

“It started from Turkey by sea to Greece and was very dangerous, with a serious accident in the water, but my daughter and I survived.

“After that, I moved to Macedonia, then to Serbia, Belgrade, Hungary, then Austria, and finally to my destination Berlin.”

Bouta decided to pursue her love of sport by enrolling in a sport and fitness administration college course. One of the immediate benefits was the possibility to try out new sports.

“My experience in setting up and living in Germany is a new step in my life,” she said.

“I had to start from scratch and work hard to achieve my ambition and strive to secure a good living for the future.

“I came from an athletic family and I couldn’t achieve my sporting ambition very much in Syria because of the war. I started with the sports association in Berlin, and through it I got to know the sport of stand up paddling. I started paddling in September 2019 and immediately liked it.”

For Bouta, competing in this week’s ICF SUP world championships is about much more than showing how refugees can build new beginnings. She also wants to help the growth of stand up paddling around the world.

And she wants to make her young daughter proud.

“The experience of participation in the world championship for SUP is important and a big dream for me,” Bouta said. 

“I also believe that participating in the world cup will create more job opportunities in sports. I have great ambition to achieve results in this tournament 

“Moreover, it will be my daughter’s pride to be happy with her mother and to share this championship with her mother.”

The ICF stand up paddling world championships begin in Balatonfured on Thursday and run through to Sunday.  

Stand Up Paddling
#ICFstandup #ICFSUP