One delivered gas cylinders in government-run Aden for a living and the other cooked meals in rebel-held Sanaa. Now the two athletes from war-torn Yemen find themselves on the same team at the Asian Games.
Yemen has been in the grip of a war since 2014 pitting forces loyal to the internationally recognised government against the Iran-backed Huthi rebels. The conflict has cost hundreds of thousands of lives.
The Yemeni team at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China is the only sign of the country's unity, according to delegation chief Abdel Sattar al-Hamadani.
"We marched behind a single banner at the opening of the Games," Hamadani told AFP.