SSI News Blog

Asylum seeker’s Olympic and academic dreams on hold

Hamed Ghorbani

Hamed Ghorbani is a high achiever in his chosen sport and academia and a prime example of the talent and dedication found in many new migrants and people seeking asylum in Australia.

Hamed, 27, from Iran, is living in the community on a bridging visa and is provided support by Settlement Services International (SSI) while he awaits a response to his application for refugee status.

SSI is a leading not-for-profit organisation that provides a range of services in the areas of humanitarian settlement, accommodation, asylum seeker assistance and foster care in NSW.

The organisation’s CEO, Violet Roumeliotis, said Mr Ghorbani’s achievements were impressive.

“Mr Ghorbani is an elite athlete in the Olympic sport of handball, who has won a national club title with the University of Sydney and a silver medal for the NSW team at the national championships.

“He is also a skilled researcher with a Master’s Degree in Sports Science and Physical Education. And in 2012, he was awarded a silver medal for best invention at the Taipei International Invention Show and Technomart for an ergonomic running machine that he designed.

“Had Mr Ghorbani been born in Australia he could have strived to be an Olympic representative with a career in sports medicine research and development.”

He now lives in Ryde, Sydney, after seeking asylum in Australia in May last year. Unable to work due to his asylum seeker status, Mr Ghorbani soon approached the Sydney University handball club to ask if he could play.

“It is very good there,” he said, “I met new people. I feel very welcome there with the good relationships I have with my team mates and coach. They are very good to me; they help me and support me.”

Mr Ghorbani represented Iran at youth levels and played in the country’s professional league for five years.

Mr Ghorbani’s Sydney Uni team qualified for the Oceania Club Championships in New Caledonia in June, after winning the national championship. Mr Ghorbani is unlikely to join them, however. Living in Australia on a bridging visa means he is unable to travel overseas. But he still holds hope after lodging a ministerial intervention request to be granted an exception.

If granted refugee status and eventually citizenship, Mr Ghorbani hopes to represent Australia at an Olympic Games and develop a career in sports science research.

“I would like to study more,” he said, “and make lots of research in the field of sports medicine, especially in knee surgery and ankle surgery in Australia.”



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