Europe's Tae Kwon Do Champion is the brother of a Brussels suicide bomber
Mourad Laachrouai at a press conference shortly after the Brussels attacks (AFP / Emmanuel Dunand)
“You can’t choose your family” Mourad Laachraoui remarked to journalists in March.
The 21-year-old Belgian knows what he’s talking about. On Thursday, he was crowned Europe’s Tae Kwon Do champion and has already qualified to represent his country in the Olympics in Rio this year.
His older brother, on the other hand, is Najim Laachraoui – one of the Brussels suicide bombers.
Mourad was crowned lightweight champion in Switzerland, has represented Belgium in Korea, Israel and beyond, and is one among a team of 185 heading to represent Belgium in the Rio Games in August.
In a press conference organised after the attacks in Brussels, he said he was shocked and saddened by his brother’s involvement in terrorism. Najim, who was 24 at the time of the attacks, had been estranged from his family since 2013.
"Our family has the same questions you all have," Mourad told journalists after the attacks. "He used to be a nice intelligent guy. I couldn't believe it."
32 people were killed in Brussels during a terror attack in March, including 14 killed by the bomb Najim Laachraoui detonated.