The 24-year-old Yemeni athlete is drowning while trying to come to Spain on a small refugee boat to start a new life and sporting career in Europe & # 39;
- Helal Ali Mohammed Al-Hajj was found dead in Melilla traveling from Morocco
- His body was rescued from the sea two days after he was reported missing
- He was a specialist in wushu, a martial art that combines various disciplines
An award-winning international athlete drowned while trying to cross the Strait of Gibraltar in a small refugee boat in an attempt to enter Spain.
Helal Ali Mohammed Al-Hajj, a 24-year-old Yemeni medalist, was found dead on September 18 in Melilla at the end of a dangerous journey from Morocco.
According to the Civil Guard Group of Underwater Activities, his body was rescued from the sea two days after he was reported missing.
Helal Ali Mohammed Al-Hajj, a 24-year-old Yemeni medalist, drowned while trying to cross over to Spain
A second man who tried to survive the dangerous cross with the athlete survived after he had swum to safety when both were dropped off in the water at the shoreline. He warned the authorities and said he had just lost sight of his friend.
The Spanish Refugee Aid Commission, CEAR Refugio tweeted: & Helal (24, Yemen) died last week trying to reach Melilla by sea, eyewitnesses let us know.
& # 39; Another tragic sign that not even those fleeing inhuman wars have the right to request safe asylum. & # 39;
Helal Ali Mohammed Al-Hajj was a specialist in wushu, a martial art that combines various disciplines.
As an athlete, he participated in the Asian Games in Jakarta in 2018 and won a bronze medal in the Islamic Solidarity Games of 2017. The civil war in Yemen forced him to move Algeria, but he wanted to come to Europe for a better life.
The UN Refugee Council (Acnur) said the war forced him to flee his country, but without legal means he coincided with his life at sea and died trying to reach the Spanish city on the North African coast.
A friend said: & # 39; His dream was to be like Conor Anthony McGregor, a retired Irish martial arts fighter & # 39;
Colleagues in the sports world have described him as a & # 39; dedicated and hard-working & # 39; athlete and someone with & # 39; high moral values & # 39 ;.
Both the government and the Yemeni media have praised the Kung Fu champion as a hero and have paid repatriation costs.
His surviving friend said: “His dream was to be like Conor Anthony McGregor, a retired Irish martial arts fighter. He had set his sights on Spain to work and compete. & # 39;
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