Wrestler Mohamadreza Ashori has his sights set on the 2016 Olympics after his asylum seeker status prevented him from representing Australia at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
In May Ashori won the 74 kilogram division at the Australia Cup of wrestling and would have qualified for the Commonwealth Games earlier in the year but is not yet a an Australian citizen. Ashori, 30, has lived in the the Sydney community for about 12 months and has been taken in and accepted by the community at a gym in Baulkham Hills while he waits for his refugee status to be assessed.
That means he is not eligible to compete in the Games. He has been supported by Settlement Services International’s (SSI) Community Support Program during that time.
Ashori still wants to represent Australia at the 2016 Rio Games.
“Every day I’m running, bodybuilding, wrestling, all day,” Ashori said speaking in English.
“In future maybe I get citizenship and make next Olympics and get medal for Australia. Every day I will train four, five hours for the future.”
Sport is his passion but Ashori didn’t put all of his eggs in that basket. He has bachelor degrees in mechanical engineering and physical education, gained in his birth-country Iran.
He said he would like to coach athletes in Australia one day.
Despite his qualifications and talent, Mohamadreza said that in Australia he cannot work while his application for refugee status is assessed.
SSI Manager, Humanitarian Services David Keegan said that despite the disappointment of Mohamadreza not being able to fulfil his potential, it was pleasing to see how he had been supported by the community.
“Obviously Mohamadreza would be disappointed at not being in Glasgow, but he has made some positive connections with people in Sydney, which have helped him remain positive,” Mr Keegan said.
“Those connections and that support are fundamental to the health and wellbeing of people like Mohamadreza who are seeking asylum.”