Safwan Khalil became the first Australian athlete to win gold at a benchmark event when he climbed to the top of the podium at the 2011 World Universiade. The result help set him up to make his Olympic debut at the London 2012 Games. Khaili won his opening fight against Diego Garcia of Mexico before going down in the quarter-finals to eventual gold medallist Joel Gonzalez Bonilla of Spain. Khalil then made it into a fight for bronze after progressing through the repechage but was unable to overcome Alexey Denisenko of Russia, going down 3-1 to finish the competition in fifth.
Four years later he qualified for Rio 2016 after winning the Oceania Olympic Qualification Tournament in Papua New Guinea. Khalil began the tournament with an 8-1 win over Belgium’s Si Mohamed Ketbi before losing his quarter-final 11-9 against Tawin Hanprab of Thailand in a fight that went down to the wire. He returned in the repechage but couldn’t get the better of South Korea’s Taehun Kim as he finished the competition in 7th.
Khalil was born in Tripoli, Lebanon and, fleeing from war, immigrated to Australia when he was eight-months old with his parents, two brothers and sister.