Somalia's Athletes Brave War to
July 25, 2012
Most athletes coming to the London Olympics are thinking of medals, writes Jamal Osman. But for Mohamed and Samsam, their greatest achievement was reaching here safely.
Their journey to the Olympics has meant training in the world's most difficult conditions, dodging bullets and defying death threats.
I went to Somalia last year to meet the athletes and to witness their daily struggle. The athletes, training for the London Games, were using the main road - the frontline - as their running track. They described "as the road of death".
I was expecting to tell the story of Somalia's top athlete Abdinasir Ibrahim and his journey to London 2012 - but decades of conflict have deeply affected him.
His mother and two of his brothers were killed in the war - and this year, his teammate died and Islamists killed the head of Somalia's Olympic team.
Abdinasir Ibrahim said: "Our Olympic leaders who were helping us died. And safety-wise, running on the road became very difficult for me and that has affected my morale. Mentally."
His coach said the stress became too much for him. "He started contradicting himself," Ahmed Ali told me. "Sometime when people talk to him he would get angry and he even burned his running suit saying it was against his religion."
Read the full story and watch a video at Channel Four