Saharawi runner Salah Amaidan said he refused to participate in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro within a team of refugee athletes living in Europe, adding he prefers to represent the Saharawi Republic (SADR).
“I prefer to represent the Saharawi Republic in sport demonstrations, instead of being part of a team fusing the identities of athletes, as is the case with the team that participates in Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games in the name of world refugees,” Salaha Amaidan told Al-Masir News Arabic.
“Identity is the essence of competition in sport contests. That is why it is unnatural for one to take part in any sport event without his/her identity or country of origin being loudly applauded,” underlined the Saharawi runner.
Currently lives in France, Salah Amaidan is a Saharawi runner who grew up in the Moroccan-controlled area of Western Sahara and was forced to join Morocco’s junior athletics team at age 12.
By 1999, he was the triple cross-country champion for Morocco, 2nd place in the Africa Championships and two-time Arab World Champion.
In 2003, during a race in France and as he approached the last 200m in the lead of an 8km race, he pulled out the Saharawi flag and waived it across the finish line.