By Palestine Chronicle Staff
Simon Yacoub was born in 1988 and raised in Leipzig, Germany by his Palestinian father and German mother.
He had been on the judo mat since the age of five, saying, “What was only fun at the beginning began to become the center of my life with every success.”
Yacoub attended the “Sport Gymansium” in Leipzig from which he graduated in 2009, having done daily training sessions of up to four hours. As a result, he was of the best fighters in his weight class in regional and central German tournaments.
By age of sixteen, Yacoub was on the German national team.
Yacoub wrote on his website: “Since I was 5-years-old Judo has been a great part of my life. Through this sport I was able to develop many qualities and characteristics. Diligence, self-control, cooperation, honor and respect, motivation, punctuality, going to your limits, sweat and blood, to be subordinated, and much more.”
Due to suffering a pneumothorax, a collapsed right lung, in November 2013, Yacoub took a break from judo for a few years.
He stated that an unexpectedly rapid and proper healing process laid the foundation for his goals, adding, “I remembered the origin of my father. My goal was certain since this moment – the Olympic Games 2016 for Palestine!”
In July 2014 he received consent from Palestine to participate in the qualifications for the country of his father. August 2014 was the first time Yacoub competed for Palestine in Chelyabinsk, Russia.
Regarding his participation in the Rio Olympics 2016, Yacoub said, “For me the road to Rio is not only a sporting challenge. It is also important to me to show that war is not the answer and differences can be discharged in sporting fair fights.”
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Yacoub has expressed that he wants “to be clearly distanced from political opinions and backgrounds and see my participation for the qualifications solely as a sporting support for the country that shaped my family.”
Yacoub also completed an apprenticeship as a physiotherapist in 2013, with the aim of eventually studying medicine.
He will participate in the super lightweight division in Rio.