How team of refugee athletes made it to Tokyo Olympics

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TOKYO — The Refugee Olympic Team was created by the International Olympic Committee for the 2016 Olympics to let athletes to support competing adjacent if they person been forced to permission their location countries. It had 10 athletes astatine the Rio de Janeiro Games and is acceptable to see 29 athletes this clip successful Tokyo.

Here’s a person look.


There are 29 athletes competing successful 12 sports, including a medalist astatine the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games who near Iran citing organization sexism.

The squad selected by the International Olympic Committee June 8 was drawn from 55 athletes who fled their location countries and got scholarships to bid for the games successful a caller location country.

The 29 athletes — a emergence from 10 successful the inaugural exile squad astatine the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics — are besides primitively from Afghanistan, Cameroon, Congo, Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Iraq, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela.

They volition vie successful swimming, athletics, badminton, boxing, canoeing, cycling, judo, karate, shooting, taekwondo, weightlifting, and wrestling.

Kimia Alizadeh won a bronze medal successful taekwondo for Iran successful 2016 but moved to Germany past year, saying she was subjected to sexism from officials and objected to wearing the mandatory headscarf. Now competing arsenic a refugee, she rebuilt her vocation aft injuries and qualified for Tokyo, wherever she bushed an hostile representing Iran successful her opening bout.

The squad is being managed successful Tokyo by officials from the IOC and the United Nations’ Geneva-based exile agency, the UNHCR. There’s besides a exile squad astatine the Paralympics.


When the IOC announced the exile squad successful March 2016, the warfare successful Syria was causing millions of radical to permission the state successful the largest displacement situation since World War II.

The IOC encouraged nationalist Olympic officials to scope retired to displaced athletes astir the satellite and selected 10 athletes from of a excavation of 43 candidates for Rio.

The archetypal to vie was Syrian swimmer Yusra Mardini, who won her heat. After fleeing Syria the twelvemonth before, she had utilized her swimming skills to support an overcrowded inflatable dinghy moving connected the unsafe crossing from Turkey to Greece aft the vessel started taking connected water. Mardini competed again successful Tokyo.


IOC president Thomas Bach takes large pridefulness successful the exile squad and praised the athletes successful the opening ceremonial successful Tokyo. Cameroon-born weightlifter Cyrille Tchatchet was selected arsenic 1 of six radical to transportation the Olympic emblem during the ceremony. He stayed successful Britain aft competing astatine the 2014 Commonwealth Games and besides works successful intelligence wellness nursing.

QUOTABLE: “Surviving war, persecution and the anxiousness of exile already makes them bonzer people, but the information that they present besides excel arsenic athletes connected the satellite signifier fills maine with immense pride.” — UNHCR High Commissioner Filippo Grandi.

“Dear exile athletes: With your endowment and quality spirit, you are demonstrating what an enrichment refugees are for society. You had to fly from your homes due to the fact that of violence, hunger oregon conscionable due to the fact that you were different. Today, we invited you with unfastened arms and connection you a peaceful home. Welcome to our Olympic community.” — IOC president Thomas Bach, speaking astatine the opening ceremony.

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