Western Sahara runner dreams of Olympics

RNW archive

This article is part of the RNW archive. RNW is the former Radio Netherlands Worldwide or Wereldomroep, which was founded as the Dutch international public broadcaster in 1947. In 2011, the Dutch government decided to cut funding and shift RNW from the ministry of Education, Culture and Science to the ministry of Foreign Affairs. More information about RNW Media’s current activities can be found at https://www.rnw.org/about-rnw-media.

Long-distance runner Salah Ameidan dreams of winning gold for his country at the Olympics. There’s just one problem: he’s Sahrawi, from the Western Sahara - a disputed territory that Morocco claims as its own. Listen to an interview with Salah below.

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Growing up in the city of Al Aaiún, Salah and his friends saw the Moroccans as occupiers; stealing a policeman's hat and running off with it was a badge of honour. And being the fastest runner, Salah was never caught.

But his natural talent also attracted the interest of a scout from the Moroccan national squad. At the age of 12, Salah was recruited for the Morrocan running team and sent to Rabat to train. Unable to represent his own people, Salah hatched a plan that shocked his oppressors, but kept his hopes of winning a medal for his homeland alive.
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Taken from the latest edition of The State We're In - The Extra Mile.