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Seattle, U.S.A. — As he prepares for his Olympic Summer Games qualifying heat on Wednesday, August 8 th in the men’s 5,000 meter, former Sudan Lost Boy Lopez Lomong is also focused on children living in poverty back home in South Sudan.
After London, whether he medals or not, the U.S. Olympian is hoping to return to Africa. The trip, tentatively scheduled for January, 2013, is part of long-term partnership between Lomong’s non-profit, 4South Sudan and Team World Vision, a program sponsored by international Christian charity World Vision. Lomong’s group is dedicated to helping raise $500,000 to provide access to clean water, health care, education and nutrition.
According to the latest United Nations (UNHCR) estimates, there are more than 660,000 displaced South Sudanese as fighting rages between Sudan and its neighbor, South Sudan. Malaria and diarrhea run rampant in the overcrowded refugee camps. Nearly three children die of preventable illnesses in the camps every day.
At the age of six, Lopez was kidnapped from his Southern Sudan village and held captive as he was being prepped as a child soldier. Too small to undergo training, his fate would most likely have been starvation. But he managed to escape with the help of three other captives. After running three days and nights, they were captured by Kenyan troops and brought to a refugee camp where Lopez lived for 10 years.
He was sponsored by a U.S. family and brought to this country where he soon discovered he was the fastest kid in school. At track meets he then discovered he was the fastest in the state. Soon he would become one of the fastest in the nation.
In 2008, Lomong qualified for the Beijing Olympics in the men’s 1,500 meters. He was voted by his teammates as the flag bearer in the Opening Ceremonies.
Lomong has a new book entitled “Running For My Life” (Thomas Nelson Publisher) http://www.thomasnelson.com/running-for-my-life.html
Image Courtesy of sidelife