Refugee Olympic Team: Who Are The Athletes Representing War-Torn Countries In Rio?

Refugee Olympic Team: Who Are The Athletes Representing War-Torn Countries In Rio?
Refugee Olympic Team Pixabay

Rio Olympics 2016 will feature one extra team of athletes for the first time. These athletes do not have a specific national background or historical precedence.


This team has come to be referred to as the Refugee Olympic Team, which has 10 athletes across four sports disciplines from four countries in the war-torn Middle East and Africa. The Rio Olympics started with a spectacular celebration of the Brazilian culture, which was marked by reminders of the unsettling backdrop to this game.

“The goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of humankind, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity,” reads a fundamental principle of Olympism.

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Time and again, the world’s most revered sports platform has uphold this principle. This platform has allowed countries, which are not officially recognized by their neighbors or the members of the United Nations, to represent themselves, Quartz reported.

The Refugee Olympic Team will represent those who were displaced by war or persecution, either internally or outside their country. These 10 athletes stand for all the perils they have overcome to reach this stage to be recognized for what they are than where they came from.

The Refugee Olympic Team includes five athletes from Kenya, two from Syria, two from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and one from Ethiopia, SB Nation reported.

South Sudan’s Rose Nathike Lokonyen, James Nyang Chiengjiek, Angelina Nada Lohalith, Paulo Amotun Lokoro, Yiech Pur Biel are runners sponsored by Kenya. According to United Nations Refugee Agency, there are 850,000 refugees and asylum seekers from South Sudan.

Syria’s Rami Anis, a swimmer supported by Belgium and Yusra Mardini, a swimmer sponsored by Germany will also compete in Rio. According to the UN Refugee Agency numbers, there are 4.8 million Syrian refugees and another 8.7 million internally displaced people in Syria.

Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Popole Misenga and Yolande Bukasa Mabika, judoka, will be supported by Brazil. The number of refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo is more than 384,000. Ethiopia’s Yonas Kinde, a marathoner, will be supported by Luxembourg. The number of Ethiopian refugees has crossed 700,000.

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