Feel Like You’re Flying


My Story

From Gaza To Sweden

I am Ahmad Matar or they call me (Matar Gaza), Palestinian from Gaza Strip, Born on the 19th of March 1996.

I started Parkour and Freerunning at the age of 9 years, it was the moment when I met two guys doing some flips at the place where I used to train martial arts, (Mohamed AlJakhbeer and Abdallah Inshasi) are the two people who inspired me to start with my Parkour journey.

“With Parkour you feel like you’re flying, and even in Gaza, we forget everything. we are just thinking about Parkour, how to do a trick, how to do a jump. I started dreaming about parkour. It took over, it changed my whole life. If there was something bad happening around me I just thought about the jump I wanted to do – it changed my mind and my life.”

Since I started Parkour and Freerunning, everything in my life has changed, everything became connected to Parkour and I spent all my time with my friends from the team, all the time training and talking about the sport. My family worried about me all the time because they know it’s a dangerous sport, especially in Gaza. We were training in cemeteries and on the rubble of buildings because they were the only places that we found. Other places caused a lot of problems for us from the government because they were thinking we wanted to steal or some other foolish thing. Other people didn’t like what we were doing at first because it’s dangerous and we could get hurt because we had no equipment and no special place to train before we go to practice our skills outside, so we were training outside all the time ad that’s what made the sport more dangerous. We didn’t stop despite all the difficulties in Gaza, despite the bad situation, many wars, and a lot of rubble, everything was dangerous and every moment could come to a new war.



Since I was a kid I had the dream to travel, so I started to make videos and share them on Facebook to show my skills. people liked what I was doing and I got a lot of views on my videos, which made me so happy and motivated me to continue. I started to think about entering competitions and wondered how I could join the competitions, so I started to train more and more and post more videos. Then, many people from around the world started to invite me and my friends to do shows outside Gaza. Also the Arabian program “Arabs Got Talent” invited me and my team PK Gaza on the program but we couldn’t go because we have a lot of difficulties trying to travel outside of Gaza. The crossing between Gaza and Egypt is closed most months, and it opens only 6 times in the year for three days or less. We don’t have an airport in Gaza, so the only way to travel is through the crossing to Egypt. I was invited to be in the Red Bull Challenge in China and I got the visa to travel but I lost that chance because the crossing wasn’t open during that time.

WFPF tried to help me many times to go to America to join the WFPF challenge in 2016, but I also missed that chance because to get the American visa, I have to go to Jerusalem. It was impossible to go there in time, because I have to use the Eriz crossing between Gaza and Israel, and it takes more than 40 days to get the permission and most time they refuse to give the visa. Krap Gym in Italy invited me many times to be part of their events that they organise every summer and every winter. I applied to the Italian embassy three times to get a visa for Italy, and three times they refused without any reason because I’m from Gaza and they don’t allow people from Gaza to travel for some political reasons.

The Dream BecameTrue

In October of 2016, my luck turned around when I applied for a visa to go to Sweden. I had gotten an invitation from my friend Marcus Zykren from Air Wipp Academy to be part of the Air Wipp Challenge, and with help from friends in Sweden, I got the visa after only two weeks of waiting. I was still worried because the crossing was closed at that time. Then, after just one day, I heard that the Rafah crossing would be opening. I prepared myself to go and I went for the crossing, but there were so many people wanting to cross, more than 30,000 people, and I had to put my name on the list of travelers and had to wait for the people who registered before me to go through. It seemed impossible that I would get to travel because there were so many people waiting. But I refused to give up before and tried everything I could think of. Finally, I tried to contact the people in charge of sports in Gaza and I told them about the challenge, and they put me through a special request and got me through very fast. Still, there’s another decision from the Egyptians when I passed into Egypt. I had the visa and all my documents were fine, but there was still one week until the visa become valid. So, they gave me just one solution, go directly to the Airport and wait there for the week. I thought I would be free while I was there, but instead, the Egyptians put me in jail at the airport with people who had many problems. They took my phone and my bag, so I couldn’t contact anyone. It was very hard and I had many bad moments, I had to be patient because I knew that after one week, I would get out of that place.

Finally, the week ended and I went to my plane. I was happy because it was my first time on a plane. It was really the happiest feeling for me because I had started my trip, and my dream to travel became true. I arrived Sweden and went for the Air Wipp Challenge. I couldn’t believe that I was meeting all these great people and that I was part of the competition. It really was incredible, everything happening suddenly. I met with my friends from my team who had left Gaza many years before, my friends Mohamed AlJakhbeer, Mohamed Zaqout, and Abdallah Inshasi. Then after, I went to Italy because my friends had organised my tickets to meet them there, and also because it had always been my hope to be in Italy one day! My dreams became true and everything I wanted happened one by one, which made me so happy.

The Journey Continues

“I still wonder if I’m really alive because I can’t believe what’s going on around me. Everything changed so suddenly after only three days of traveling. I’m happy now, I’m always happy. I don’t care about other things and just do what I like to do. It’s a very different feeling from before. Every day since I came to Sweden feels like a dream.”

“I had come to Sweden to take part in a competition I was invited for and decided I wanted to stay. I asked my friends to help me find the best way because I didn’t want to go back to that situation. Even if it means losing the chance to be with my family because there’s no future for me in Gaza. There’s nothing for me to do there. I’ve worked hard to become as good as possible in parkour, but there’s nothing in Gaza: no one cares about parkour, no one can sponsor me there, and it felt how I do it’s not gonna lead me anywhere with the sport.

So I started to run parkour workshops in different cities in Sweden. I coach so many kids who are interested in learning, including in Gothenburg, and I also take part in competitions. Sponsorships help pay for the travel. Volvo company have made commercials with me, Red Bull too. We’ve been paid to do videos so that’s a way to make money.

And finally, I got an offer from one of the Swedish companies to work for them in full time, my work was to visit schools around Stockholm city to show and inspire the students in the schools, It’s a Dream Job to work full time with something you really love.

Teaching isn’t difficult for me as I have the experience from when I was a kid, coaching myself without a trainer. So I know what the kids can do, and I can pass it on to help them do stuff without hurting themselves. They learn so quickly though. Things that took me five years to do they do in one month, it’s crazy. I’m so happy for them.

“In Sweden, I can work, I can train in a safe place, I can travel without problems and I’m free. In Gaza there was a border closing everything around me. I can’t see my family at the moment, but it’s not impossible for me to see them at some point. I always say that nothing is impossible,”

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