Top 50 Moments of 2017: No. 18 – Mohammad Abas Karimi wins Worlds medal

Afghan-born swimmer becomes first refugee to reach the podium at World Championships 14 Dec 2017 By IPC

History was written on the second day (3 December) of competition at Mexico City 2017 as Mohammad Abas Karimi became the first refugee athlete to reach the podium at a World Para Swimming Championships.

His achievement enters at No. 18 in the International Paralympic Committee's (IPC) Top 50 Moments of 2017.

The Afghan-born swimmer touched in second in the men’s 50m butterfly S6 with a time of 42.35, finishing behind Turkey’s Beytullah Eroglu (38.35) and ahead of Egypt’s Hani Abdelsalam (42.59).

“This was my first World Championships, a beautiful experience. I want to dedicate this to my brother who died. I came here to win and I won. I am thankful to my coach and all those who supported me along the way. Thanks also to World Para Swimming.

“I have sacrificed a lot and have been training hard. I moved to the USA a year ago and I am happy. My big goal is Tokyo 2020.

Karimi also swam the 50m freestyle S5 and 100m freestyle S1-5, ending fifth in both, and the 50m backstroke S5, finishing in seventh place.

This was the second time Karimi took part in an international event after competing in the Indianapolis World Series last June, where he rounded-off a successful performance by winning the 50m butterfly S5, 100m backstroke S5 and 200m individual medley SM5.

“Indianapolis was a great experience and fun,” he said.

Since he took up swimming at an early age back in Afghanistan, sport has become an important part of Karimi’s life.

“My older brother Mohammad owned a pool and I used to go every day to swim for free. Day by day I kept swimming and improving. Then my former coach taught me techniques and swimming very well.

“Swimming means a lot to me, it changed my life. And I believe it will take me even higher. I will do everything it takes to become a Paralympic champion.”

The full rundown of the Top 50 Moments will continue until 31 December.