Olympic judo coach helps teenage asylum seekers
Published: Wednesday, 12 February 2014 12:53
Talented teenagers Shaheen and Hussain Moghadamshaidie could represent NSW in judo at the National Championships if they can raise the money to travel to qualifying competitions around the country.
The boys, aged 15 and 16, have already impressed state and national coaches after Settlement Services International (SSI) and their Castle Hill judo club supported their enthusiasm to participate in the Olympic sport. SSI is a leading not-for-profit organisation providing a range of services in the areas of humanitarian settlement, accommodation, asylum seeker assistance and foster care in NSW.
Hussain and his brother Shaheen have been living in the community along with their father, mother and baby brother, awaiting the outcome of an application for refugee status since July last year.
The family is supported by SSI and is currently living in North Parramatta on bridging visas.
SSI CEO Violet Roumeliotis said Shaheen and Hussain had immediately wanted to start judo training when they arrived in Australia but their family had no money to pay for registration or uniforms.
“Judo is one of the most popular sports in the boys’ country of birth, Iran, so they were eager to look for a judo club to train with in Australia,” Ms Roumeliotis said.
“Because they are on bridging visas, their parents are unable to work and had limited funds to pay for judo costs.
“Shaheen and Hussain were lucky enough to find the Budokan Judo Club in Castle Hill, which is run by former Olympic coach and organiser of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games judo competition Rob Katz.
“Mr Katz and his club have very generously sponsored the boys by paying their costs for the first 12 months of membership. This includes four judo uniforms partially sponsored by the club’s supplier Sensei’ Martial Arts.
“But, from the boy’s success in the sport, the family now needs about $700 to pay for travel and accommodation to events in order to qualify for the National Championships.”
Ali Moghadamshaidie, the boys’ father, said Mr Katz and the Budokan Judo Club had treated them like family.
“This club is not only for Judo,” he said, “this club, for me and my sons, my wife and baby son, is like a school or family.”
“We have no family here or friends, this club is very good for us.”
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