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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid