Rio 2016: Team Refugee to compete in athletics, judo, swimming events

New York, US (PANA) - Ten refugee athletes under the name: "Team Refugee" will compete in athletics, judo and swimming events at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 5 to 21 August.

This is the first-ever refugee team to compete in any Olympic Games.

PANA in New York recalled that, the 10 athletes were selected in June by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), with the support of the UN refugee agency (UNHCR). The team was created to bring global attention to the magnitude of the global refugee crisis and act as a symbol of hope for refugees worldwide.

The 10 were chosen from a group of 43 athletes earlier identified by National Olympic Committees (NOCs), and were verified based on their sporting ability, personal circumstances and current refugee status.

IOC President Thomas Bach, said that the refugees will compete under the Olympic flag and would be called "Team of Refugee Olympic Athletes (ROA), with the IOC country code ROA, stating that, "their participation is part of an effort to show solidarity with the world’s refugees and to send a message of hope to all the refugees of the world."

He recalled that the UN refugee agency had selected Ibrahim Al-Hussein, a Syrian refugee residing in Athens, Greece, to carry the Olympic flame through the Eleonas refugee and migrant camp in Athens, during the 2016 Olympics torch relay.

He noted that the athletes have competed as Independent Olympians at the Olympic Games for various reasons, including political transition and international sanctions.

"Independent athletes have come from Macedonia, East Timor, South Sudan and Curacao following geopolitical changes in the years before the Olympics, from Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (present-day Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia) as a result of international sanctions and from India as a result of suspension of its National Olympic Committee," Mr. Bach said.

The OIC chief however said: "Medals were won by Independent Olympians only at the 1992 Olympics during the shooting events."

PANA reports that the 10 refugee athletes, comprising six men and four women, are James Chiengjiek (South Sudan), competing in athletics (men's 400 metres), Yiech Biel (South Sudan) athletics (men's 800 metres), Paulo Lokoro (South Sudan) taking part in men's 1,500 metres athletics event, and Yonas Kinde from Ethiopia, who will participate in the Olympics men's marathon race.

Others are Popole Misenga (Democratic Republic of Congo) competing in men's judo (90 kg category), Rami Anis (Syria) featuring in women's swimming (100 metres butterfly) and (100 metres freestyle), Rose Lokonyen (South Sudan) taking part in women's track and field events (800 metres), Anjelina Lohalith (South Sudan) competing in women's 1500 metres, Yolande Mabika (Democratic Republic of Congo) for women's judo (70 kg category) and Yusra Mardini (Syria) competing in women's 100 metres butterfly swimming event.

Team Refugee will live in the Olympic village with the other 11,000 athletes, work with coaches and a team entourage appointed by the IOC.

They will compete under the Olympic flag, stand for the Olympic anthem, wear Olympic uniforms during the Games, and march with the Olympic flag immediately before the host nation Brazil at the opening ceremony.
-0-  PANA  AA  31July2016

31 july 2016 17:53:38

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