World Class 2012 in partnership with the British Council bring you the stories of the schools where the dreams begin.
The double scull rowing duo were half of the four strong Iraqi Olympic team in Beijing 2008.
Haider and Hamza's schools
Hamza Hussein grew up in Baghdad during Sadam Hussein's Presidency. We asked him about his school years. Hamza's memories are dominated by political upheaval and conflict.
Hamza started primary school, aged 7, in 1983, three years into the war between Iraq and Iran.
In 1990, tight economic sanctions began, the same time Hamza moved to secondary school. "Life was very difficult and schools were not able to provide the support students needed," he said.
Hamza was used to depending on himself, and the tough environment during his school years only made Hamza more determined to succeed.
"All of those difficulties were the reason why I decided to do something in my life that make me different, I didn't know what I should do because I was still a kid, but that gave me the determination that materialised into making me an athlete who is able to compete with the international champions," he said.
World Olympic Dreams
Haider and Hamza are two of the athletes being tracked as London 2012 approaches and they strive to make their Olympic dreams a reality.