Bath student helps Paralympic athlete overcome language barrier

One of our undergraduate students is acting as a translator for a Paralympic athlete whilst he is training here in Bath.

Karima Elmagrebi, a third year MEng (hons) Civil & Architectural Engineering student from Libya, has agreed to put her summer plans on hold in order to translate for fellow Libyan, Paralympic power-lifter Abdelrazik Baa Ba.

Abdel is among the many international athletes based at the University having arrived with Libya’s Olympic athletes at the start of June. After a three week stay he returned home with his Olympic team mates and support staff as scheduled.

Once back in Libya, Abdel was keen to continue training using the high standard of facilities he had access to at Bath. He has now returned to Bath with the approval of the Libyan Olympic committee.

Abdel said: "When I initially came to Bath, I was really impressed with the high standard of facilities as well as the atmosphere which was great to train in. I seemed to be a lot more relaxed in my training and found I was pushing myself harder as a result.

"When I went home, I was very keen to keep training in Bath so spoke to the Libyan Olympic committee who agreed for me to return to the UK to continue my programme."

“To be able to help my country, even if it is in just a small way by translating for Abdel, means a lot and makes me feel part of the overall Olympic spirit in what is one of the greatest events in the world,” Kareema said.

“To be able to help my country, even if it is in just a small way by translating for Abdel, means a lot and makes me feel part of the overall Olympic spirit in what is one of the greatest events in the world,” Kareema said.

When Abdel first came to Bath he had the support of the team’s back room staff who translated for him. However, now that he is back in Bath on his own accord, Karima’s help is proving invaluable.

"I am helping Abdel in a number of activities, the main things being translating training instructions from his coach and also providing advice during physio and massage," she said.

Karima recognised the significance of Bath accommodating so many international athletes. She said: "As a student at Bath, I am so proud that the University is hosting such prestigious athletes. It is a credit to the Sports Training Village, where facilities and services are undoubtedly among the best in the country.

"To have Olympic and Paralympic athletes training here during my time studying at Bath is something quite special and I am sure not many students will experience this.”

Whilst Karima spoke of her pride in helping Abdel, she also commented on what it meant to her personally.

“To be able to help my country, even if it is in just a small way by translating for Abdel, means a lot and makes me feel part of the overall Olympic spirit in what is one of the greatest events in the world,” Karima said.

Abdel added: "It is an incredible feeling to be representing my country in the Paralympics- it’s a dream come true! It has taken a large amount of time and effort but it has all been worth it.

"With the recent tough times that Libya has been going through, I hope that I can bring some happiness, and possibly a medal home, for my country."

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