The International Olympic Committee has announced a team of 10 athletes which will participate under the Olympic banner as the Refugee Olympic Team. In 2015 the IOC responded to the European Refugee Crisis by allowing athletes whom are refugees to participate. From an initial list of over 40 athletes a total of 6 men and 4 women in three sports were selected.
Half of the delegations will be refugees from South Sudan living in Kenya. All will be competing in athletics. The athletes are Yiech Pur Biel (men’s 800m), James Nyang Chiengjiek (men’s 400m), Anjelina Nada Lohalith (women’s 1500m), Rose Nathike Lokonyen (women’s 800m) and Paulo Amotun Lokoro (men’s 1500m). Also competing in athletics is Yonas Kinde whom will run in the men’s marathon. Kinde is originally from Ethiopia and is currently living in Luxembourg.
Two athletes will compete in judo with both originating from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and are currently residing in Brazil. They are Yolande Bukasa Mabika (women’s -70kg) and Pople Misenga (men’s -90kg). Swimming will contain two athletes originally from Syria. Rami Anis will compete in the men’s 100m butterfly while Yusra Mardini will compete in the women’s 200m freestyle. Anis currently resides in Belgium while Mardini resides in Germany.
Originally Raheleh Asemani qualified as a refugee athlete in taekwondo, but since qualifying she has gained her citizenship for Belgium. Asemani wants to compete for Belgium, but needs to seek approval since the quota is linked to the nation and not the athlete. Should Asemani fail to transfer the quota the will likely be reallocated to the highest ranked eligible athlete.
- IOC. Refugee Olympic Team to shine spotlight on worldwide refugee crisis. Access on June 3 2016.