News / Africa

South Sudanese Olympic Runner is Man Without a Country

Marathon runner Guor Marial, who is stateless, appears during a news conference at the 2012 Summer Olympics, in London, August 10, 2012.
Marathon runner Guor Marial, who is stateless, appears during a news conference at the 2012 Summer Olympics, in London, August 10, 2012.
VOA News
Guor Marial, a marathon runner, is a man without a country at the 2012 Olympics.  He will compete Sunday in London as an independent athlete under the Olympic flag.   

The 28-year-old athlete is from what is now South Sudan, a year-old country that has priorities other than sports.

He fled war-torn Sudan in 1993 during the civil war, eventually making his way to the U.S. where he attended high school and college, and now lives in the southwestern U.S. state of Arizona.  Marial has a so-called "green card," which allows him to live in the United States, but he is not a U.S. citizen.  He also does not have citizenship or a passport from South Sudan.  If he did, he still would not be able to represent his homeland because South Sudan does not have an Olympic committee.

Marial, who has not seen his family since he fled, says they are making the 50-kilometer hike from their village, which does not have electricity, to the town of Panrieng to watch him on television run the Olympic marathon.  

The International Olympic Committee had wanted Marial to run under the Sudanese flag, but he refused.  He said it would have been a betrayal of his country, his family and all those who died in the war.  He lost 28 family members in the violence of the civil war.

He learned just one week before the start of the London Games that he would be allowed to compete unaffiliated with any nation.

He is not the only refugee from South Sudan at the Olympics.  Chicago Bulls player Luol Deng, who grew up in London after fleeing Africa, is on Britain's basketball team, and Lopez Lomong, who has U.S. citizenship, is a 5,000 meter runner.

Marial says he has no expectations about Sunday's race, calling it "unpredictable."  

His best time for running the 42-kilometer course is 2 hours, 12 minutes and 55 seconds.  The world record is 2 hours, 3 minutes and 38 seconds.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

You May Like

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid