The Gulf Today - Panorama - - SPORT -

On one of the world’s most pol­luted coast­lines, 30 young Pales­tini­ans dive head first into the sea off the Gaza Strip, their minds filled with dreams of Olympic glory.

Aged be­tween 11 and 16, they make up a rare swimming club in the Pales­tinian en­clave, and per­haps its only mixed­sex one. Coach Am­jad Tan­tish talks through a warm-up be­fore they race from the trash­strewn beach into the sea as he con­tin­ues to bark in­struc­tions.

Con­di­tions are far from per­fect; the waves make se­ri­ous train­ing dif­fi­cult and they have lit­tle equip­ment. But Tan­tish ex­plained that there are no free pub­lic swimming pools in the Gaza Strip, so they had to brave the sea. “We lack even the sim­plest equip­ment such as gog­gles and swim­suits,” he said. “We don’t have any fund­ing.”

The Mediter­ranean hugs the en­tire 40-kilo­me­tre west­ern bor­der

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