Paris Olympics: When the mother became Christian from Muslim, the player daughter had to leave the country, sports became a support in crisis; The story of the journey from Iran to England will fill your eyes with tears

Iran-born Dorsa Yavarivafa started playing badminton for fun at the age of nine. However, after he started winning tournaments in his hometown Tehran, he thought of making a career out of it.

Dorsa Yawariwafa is a badminton player. He has received the International Olympic Committee’s Refugee Athlete Scholarship. She is the second badminton player to get this scholarship. Through this scholarship, his dream of playing in the Olympic Games Paris 2024 can come true. Dorsa Yawariwafa may be very close to making her dream come true, but her journey to get there has been a bumpy one.

Had left basketball at the age of 9 and had taken up badminton racket

Dorsa Yawarivafa switched from basketball to badminton when she was 9 years old, influenced by her father’s love for the game, but the biggest sacrifice she had to make to play badminton was staying away from her family, especially her father. However, it is badminton that has always stood by him through all the hardships of his refugee life.

Dorsa was not selected in Iran’s team despite winning consecutively

The Iran-born player remembers that she won every age-group tournament, but was not selected to represent her country. He was discriminated against because of his mother’s religious choice. Dorsa remembers watching the Olympics on TV when she was about 13 and asking her mother, ‘Do you think I’ll ever make it there?’

Discrimination with Dorsa due to mother’s change of religion

Then his mother’s answer was that if he works hard then surely it is possible. This was till she was still in Iran. Dorsa says, ‘Iran was not shown impartiality. I was winning national tournaments, but he had a problem with my mother’s religion, so we had to leave the country. My mother was a Muslim by birth, but believed in Christianity. My mother converted to Christianity. The problem arose only because of his change of religion.

Dorsa first fled from Iran and reached Germany

Dorsa was forced to leave Iran when she was 15 years old. Initially he and his family took refuge in Germany. There he started playing under the supervision of a local coach. Also won many competitions. However, he was not allowed to stay in Germany for long. After this, his family risked their lives and moved to the United Kingdom.

Risking life again made Birmingham a new destination

Eventually she reached Birmingham. There he found a badminton club to practice his truth, but his training was affected due to the Kovid-19 epidemic. This was the reason that he was forced to practice in a small house. Dorsa says, ‘It makes me a little sad. It is difficult not to play for your country. Who is there who does not want to play under the flag of his country and make it proud?’

Dorsa Yavarivafa and mother Parisa Sarbazi
Dorsa Yawariwafa with mother Parisa Sarbaji. (Source-

Will always regret not being able to play Iran

Dorsa now plays both singles and doubles in London. Dorsa is pairing up with Sri Pradipta Ananth. Her singles national ranking dropped after moving from Birmingham to London, as she could not train as before. In doubles, he is ranked 41st in the United Kingdom. Dorsa’s ultimate goal is to play badminton professionally and perhaps represent the UK. Though, she reiterates, who doesn’t want to play under the flag?

Dorsa hasn’t seen her father for 5 years to make her Olympic dream come true

However, seeking refugee status means Dorsa cannot see her father, who returned to Iran a few years ago. She says, ‘It’s been 5 years since I saw my father face to face. He is proud of my playing badminton. This is what drives me forward. Dorsa, 19, says, ‘I got first place in my first tournament. I kept getting good results and got better and better. I wanted to play at the international level.

What is IOC’s Refugee Athlete Scholarship?

The Refugee Athlete Scholarship is funded by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) through its Olympic Solidarity Program and provides financial support for athletes to train and compete in preparation for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, in order to be included in the IOC Refugee Olympic Team They can be elected.


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