Video: Eritrean Dutch Medalist Daniel Abraham – Interview



Eritrean Dutch Medalist Daniel Abraham, Interview



Software Translation from Dutch | August 22, 2017







A year ago he was the champion: cyclist Daniel Abraham Gebru won gold at the Paralympics for the Netherlands in Rio. In an orange shirt, but without a Dutch passport. Abraham’s deep-rooted wish is finally fulfilled: he is given a passport and is officially Dutchman.

General pardon


Daniel Abraham was born in Eritrea, but escaped the war in his country in 2000. At the age of sixteen he arrived in the Netherlands. Through the General Pardon, the athlete received a residence permit in 2007.

A Dutch passport was not included ten years ago. For this he has to hand over his old Eritrean passport. But that passport did not have him and returned to Eritrea to get it was not an option.

Underdeveloped leg



Abraham lived in the Netherlands in the meanwhile and his talents remained unnoticed. He got a contract at the Marco Polo Cycling Team and cycled until 2012 for the team, which had to be funded by a lack of funds.




Abraham kept cycling and ended up on another track: that of the disabled. Due to an underdeveloped lower leg, he was eligible for a paralympic trajectory after any search. And despite having no passport, he was allowed to participate in official competitions from the UCI and the IOC as a stateless citizen. He did that under the Dutch flag, as he has a residence permit in the Netherlands.



Eritrean Dutch Medalist Daniel Abraham - Interview



On September 17, 2016 it was so far: Abraham drove the road in Rio. And his race went well. A few meters before the finish of the road race, the two headers both went down. And so, the Eritrean Dutchman knew how to draw the gold medal.



He entered the stage in the orange, but was still not in possession of a passport. For Abraham, it did not matter.



Passport or not, after his performance in Rio, Abraham was allowed to audition with Prime Minister Rutte and received a royal award in honor of all Dutch medal winners.



Meanwhile, several passports have been working behind the scenes. “Now it’s just settled,” says Abraham relieved. “I have been waiting for a passport since 2007, so ten years ago.” He expects that traveling will be much faster. “I do not have to go to customs any time, that’s a lot of waiting time.”



The passport comes to Abraham as called: on Friday he leaves for South Africa for the world championship cycling on the road. There he goes back to hunt for medals. “Of course I’m going for a podium, I’m going for gold!”