[Watch] For The First Time Ever, Refugee Team Will Compete In the Olympics, Know About Them

The Logical Indian

August 6th, 2016 / 11:17 AM

Image Courtesy: unhcr 


The Rio Olympics kick-started today with over 200 national teams participating in the biggest sporting platform in the world. And here is a surprise. Along with the 200 countries there is one team that doesn’t have any home flag or any national anthem. Yes, this is the refugee Olympics team, a team which represents the great plight of 65 million refugees across the world.  The refugee team comprises 10 individuals, each coming from different backgrounds and have different stories to share. Everyone has suffered from great adversities life had offered. Some survived kidnappings, some fled war, some were coerced to become child soldiers, some were separated from families at a tender age, while villages were destroyed of some. Their stories have so far been extra-ordinary and inspirational.

The team

The team comprises two swimmers from Syria:

1. Rami Anis (25)

1Image Courtesy: zdf

2. Yusra Mardini (18)

FILE - This is a Monday, Nov. 9, 2015 file photo of Yusra Mardini from Syria poses during a training session in Berlin, Germany. They’ve fled war and violence in the Middle East and Africa. They’ve crossed treacherous seas in small dinghies and lived in dusty refugee camps.They include a teenage swimmer Yusra Mardini from Syria, long-distance runners from South Sudan and judo and taekwondo competitors from Congo, Iran and Iraq. They are striving to achieve a common goal: To compete in the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Not for their home countries, but as part of the first ever team of refugee athletes.(AP Photo/Michael Sohn, File)

Image Courtesy: wtop

Two judokas from the Democratic Republic of the Congo:

3. Yolande Mabika (28)

Judo athlete Yolande Mabika after training in Rio de Janeiro. Misenga, a refugee from DR Congo living in Brazil, is trying to qualify for the Olympic Games Rio 2016 for a newly created Olympic Team of Refugees. The Refugee Olympic Team (ROT) will compete under the Olympic flag and have the Olympic anthem as its national anthem.

Image Courtesy: iocnewsroom

4. Popole Misenga (24)

Judo athlete Popole Misenga after training in Rio de Janeiro. Misenga, a refugee from DR Congo living in Brazil, is trying to qualify for the Olympic Games Rio 2016 for a newly created Olympic Team of Refugees. The Refugee Olympic Team (ROT) will compete under the Olympic flag and have the Olympic anthem as its national anthem.

Image Courtesy: iocnewsroom

A marathoner from Ethiopia:

5. Yonas Kinde (36)

Refugee Athlete Yonas Kinde

Image Courtesy: iocnewsroom

Five middle-distance runners from South Sudan:

6. Paulo Amotun Lokoro (24)

Paulo Amotun Lokoro, 24, a refugee from South Sudan, will compete in Rio at the Olympic games. ; Just a few short years ago, Paulo Amotun Lokoro was a young herder guarding his family’s few cattle on the plains of what is now South Sudan. He says he “knew nothing” of the world except his own homeland, which had been at war for almost all his life. The effects of that conflict pushed him to flee to neighbouring Kenya, where he has developed new, grand ambitions: “I want to be world champion,” he says. Living in a refugee camp, Paulo excelled in school sports, ultimately gaining a spot on the refugee squad now training near Nairobi under the guidance of Tegla Loroupe, the renowned Kenyan runner who holds several world records. “Before I came here I did not even have training shoes,” he says. “Now we have trained and trained, until we see ourselves at a good level, and now we know fully how to be athletes.” “Before I came here, I did not even have training shoes.” The effort paid off: Paulo is going to Rio. “I am so happy,” he says. “I know I am racing on behalf of refugees. I was one of those refugees there in the camp, and now I have reached somewhere special. I will meet so many people. My people will see me on the television, on Facebook.” Still, his aim is simple: “If I perform well, I will use that to help support my family, and my people.”

Image Courtesy: lifegate

7. Yiech Pur Biel (21)

Yiech Pur Biel, 21, refugee from South Sudan runs the 800m. ; Yiech Pur Biel knew early on that if he wanted to make it in life, he would have to do so on his own. Forced to flee the fighting in southern Sudan in 2005, he ended up on his own in a refugee camp in northern Kenya. He started playing football there, but grew frustrated at having to rely so much on his teammates. With running he felt greater control over his own destiny. “Most of us face a lot of challenges,” says Yiech. “In the refugee camp, we have no facilities – even shoes we don’t have. There is no gym. Even the weather does not favour training because from morning up to the evening it is so hot and sunny.” Yet he stayed motivated. “I focused on my country, South Sudan, because we young people are the people who can change it,” he says. “And secondly, I focused on my parents. I need to change the life they are living.” Competing in the 800 metres at Rio, Yiech says, could help him to become an ambassador for refugees everywhere. “I can show to my fellow refugees that they have a chance and a hope in life. Through education, but also in running, you can change the world.”

Image Courtesy: lifegate

8. Rose Nathike Lokonyen (23)

Rose Nathika

Image Courtesy: iocnewsroom

9. Anjelina Nadai Lohalith (21)

Anjelina Nadai Lohalith, 21, refugee from South Sudan runs the 1500M. ; Anjelina Nadai Lohalith has not seen or spoken to her parents since she was six years old and was forced to flee her home in southern Sudan. As war closed in on her village, “everything was destroyed,” she says. Anjelina has heard that they are still alive, although “last year the hunger was very tough.” Helping her parents is her main motivation as she steps up her training ahead of competing in the 1,500-metre event in Rio. She knew she was good at athletics after winning school competitions at the refugee camp where she now lives in northern Kenya. But it was only when professional coaches came to select athletes for a special training camp that she realised just how fast she was. “It was a surprise,” she says. Now she wants to run well in Rio de Janeiro, and then earn places at major international races with significant prize money. “If you have money, then your life can change and you will not remain the way you have been,” Anjelina says. The first thing she would do with a big win? “Build my father a better house.”

Image Courtesy: lifegate


10. James Nyang Chiengjiek (28)


Image Courtesy: theculturetrip

These 10 were chosen from a shortlist of 43 athletes who were identified at Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps in Africa, as well as from shelters in Europe.

The Logical Indian welcomes the new initiative to remember the refugees and make them participate. It will go a long way in reminding others the plight of refugees. We wish all the best to the team.



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For The First Time Ever, Refugee Team Will Compete In the Olympics, Know About Them"]

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