Media hype too much at times for Syrian refugee swimmer

Media hype too much at times for Syrian refugee swimmer
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Published June 16th, 2016 - 17:23 GMT via

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Yusra Mardini
Yusra Mardini

Syrian swimmer Yusra Mardini, who has been picked for a 10-strong team of refugees for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, admitted Thursday that she had huge problems owing a media hype around her.

"Sometimes I hated it. The pressure was huge," the 18-year-old said in Berlin where she lives and trains.

Her coach Sven Spannekrebs agreed that "she didn't feel well for a while," especially after a media day of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in March in which she was presented to more than 100 journalists.

Spannekrebs said he has received around 1,000 interview requests of which 800 have been rejected.

Mardini fled from war-torn Syria to Germany last years and trains at the Wasserfreunde Spandau club to get in shape for the August 5-21 Games. She was officially named as part of the team of refugees by the IOC on June 3.

She has said she wants to win a gold medal 2020 in Tokyo while in Rio it would be "a miracle" if she gets through the heats, according to Spannekrebs.

© 2016 dpa GmbH

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