Western Sahara’s Champion Athlete
Athletes prepare to run a marathon through the forgotten land of Western Sahara
In the wind-swept desert of south-west Algeria, thousands of athletes prepare to run a marathon through the forgotten land of Western Sahara.
The runners will pass through six refugee camps; home to over 200,000 indigenous Saharawi people living under Moroccan occupation.
Nicola Kelly travels to the remote outpost of Tindouf to meet champion runner Salah Ameidan.
Identified at a young age as a talented cross-country athlete, Salah was forced to run under the Moroccan flag. At the end of a crucial race, victorious, he waved the Saharawi flag – illegal in Morocco – and was immediately exiled from the country.
Nicola follows Salah as he returns home to be reunited with his family and friends, many of whom he hasn’t seen since he left several years ago.
Through him, she explores the complexities of living under occupation and in exile. She meets landmine victims, youth leaders and members of the Saharawi independence movement, the POLISARIO and asks how running can help its people gain a sense of freedom.
Reporter: Nicola Kelly
**Podcast has been updated**