This is a  remarkable story of a disabled refugee who was harrassed and teased  in his youth, but who is now a role model for many.

In Afghanistan, Abbas Karimi was bullied during his boyhood by neighbourhood children. They were especially cruel and callous, because the child they were taunting was born without arms. Abbas needed their encouragement and friendship and instead was made an outcast through no fault of his own.

His family tried to protect him and keep him inside. However, Abbas wanted to be outdoors regardless, and at age 13 he learned to swim at a new pool in Kabul. From then on, this was his passion.

Fast forward to 2021, and Abbas, now a silver medalist of the 2017 Mexico World Para Swimming Championships, has a strong possibility of making it to Japan’s Paralympics in August.

So, how did Abbas survive the demeaning comments and abuse of his childhood? How did he overcome the damage to his self esteem back then?

On page 10 of my spring newsletter, Over The Garden Fence, there is an article by former CBC sports journalist Teddy Katz that includes mention of Abbas Karimi, his escape from Afghanistan, and the Paralympics. To read more about how Abbas won over such odds, click the link below, to access an article written in detail by Katz: