New Olympic refugee team. Who are the sportsmen? What is the reason of creating such team? Learn all the latest news and facts about the Olympic Games here right now!
The idea of the creation of the refugee team to participate in the Olympic Games was made by 2016 IOC Executive Committee approved in March this year. Team refugees,Olympics, will compete under the popular Olympic flag, and so the Olympic anthem will sound on awarding the athletes. A team of 10 athletes were selected out of 45 athletes. The team was announced at a press conference by the president of the IOC or International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach.
The squad includes Rami Anis (swimming, Syria is the represententive of influencial National Olympic Committee (NOC) Belgium), Yesh Pur Biel (running at 800 m, South Sudan, for the National Olympic Committee of Kenya), James Niang Chindzhik (running at 400 m, South Sudan, again the National Olympic Committee of Kenya), Jonas Kinda (marathon, Ethiopia, the NOC of Luxembourg), Angelina Nada Lohalit (running at 1,500 m, South Sudan, the National Olympic Committee of Kenya), Polop Misenga (judo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, the NOC of Brazil), Yusra Mardini (swimming, Syria, NOC Germany), Yolande Bukas Mabika (judo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, the NOC of Brazil), Poulo Amotun Lokoro (running at 1,500 m, South Sudan, the National Olympic Committee of Kenya), Rose Nafik Lokonien (running at 800 m, South Sudan, the National Olympic Committee of Kenya).
In September 2015 the IOC organized a fund to help the refugees, the representatives of 17 different National Olympic 2016 Committees. Currently the fund has $ 2 million. Also, the IOC team will provide refugees Olympic gear, and all the costs of the athletes participating in the Olympic Games will be taken by the organization controlled by the IOC ‘Olympic Solidarity’.
Bearer of refugee team, at the opening ceremony of the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, will be the 18-year-old Yusra Mardini, who was born in Damascus. Yusra started practicing swimming for another country and was the representative of Syria at FINA Short Course World Championships in 2012. During hostilities her house was destroyed, and along with her sister Yusra left Syria in August last year. Coming to Europe through Lebanon, Turkey and the Aegean Sea, Yusra settled in Berlin.
Yusra Mardini is not shy about her refugee status. ‘The word’ refugee’ is not a bad word. A lot of people help us and it impresses us’, - she once said.
Providing an opportunity for athletes to speak to refugees under the Olympic flag, the IOC has shown foresight. Over the past two years, the number of internally displaced people in the world reached a historic high - according to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the number of forced to leave their homes because of war, persecution and natural disasters by the end of 2014 amounted to 59.5 million people. Global migration trends suggest that the next Olympic team of refugees will increase.