The 19-year-old, competing under the World Taekwondo flag, is competing in the two-day tournament and will go onto compete in the 9th Fujairah Open on February 6-8 in the M-74kg category.

Wael was the first refugee to graduate to a black belt from the Azraq Humanitarian Taekwondo Center back in 2017, paving the way for another 15 athletes to attain this achievement since then. Since June 2018, he was also a refugee athlete Olympic Solidarity scholarship-holder for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Refugee athlete Wael Fawaz Al-Farraj competes abroad for first time

World Taekwondo President Chungwon Choue said, “Over the years, Wael has been a shining example of how refugee athletes can pursue their dreams through sport. His participation is a fantastic achievement and endorsement of the joint humanitarian efforts of World Taekwondo, the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation, the International Olympic Committee, and the Olympic Refuge Foundation.”

“I would also like to thank the authorities in Jordan and the United Arab Emirates for creating a pathway for Wael to fulfil his dreams,” added President Choue.

IOC President and ORF Chairman, Dr. Thomas Bach, also expressed his pride at Wael’s participation and urged for the continued support to refugees around the globe.

Refugee athlete Wael Fawaz Al-Farraj competes abroad for first time

Wael has previously taken part in a number of Taekwondo competitions in Jordan including the Asian Qualifications for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and the Asian Junior Championships in 2019. However, the Arab Cup and Fujairah mark the first time he has competed outside of Jordan.

In recognition of their dedicated services and outstanding contribution to the development of Taekwondo, and for the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation, President Choue will present appreciation plaques to Wael’s coach, Asef Sabah who is the Head Coach of the Humanitarian Taekwondo Centre and to Ms. Farah Al Asa’ad, MENA Coordinator for THF.

The 9th Fujairah Open is a G2 event with about 1,000 athletes and 316 officials from 53 countries registered to compete.