Introducing Eldric Samuel Sella Rodriguez, the refugee boxer hoping to realise his Olympic dream at Tokyo 2020

Knocked down but never out, IOC Refugee Athlete Scholar Eldric Sella continues his fight to compete at the Tokyo 2020 Games in 2021.

By Chloe Merrell

Eldric Sella first stepped foot in a boxing gym when he was just 10 years old. His reasoning at the time, he writes in his personal blog, was to learn how to box so he could defend himself from others.

He has since come a long way from those early days in the “23 de Enero” neighbourhood in Venezuela and not just in terms of his own personal motivation.

After economic collapse ravaged Venezuela in 2014, political turmoil and violence soon followed, and for the aspiring professional boxer who was once part of the national team, there was little in the way of a future to be found.

Sella made the impossible decision to leave behind his family and the humanitarian crisis unfolding in his homeland in search of more stability and greater opportunity elsewhere.

He and his girlfriend fled to nearby Trinidad and Tobago where they were granted refugee status. Sella’s father, who incidentally is now his boxing coach, later joined them.

The father-son duo tasted their first success on Caribbean soil when Sella won silver in the Trinidad and Tobago Boxing Association’s Boxing Championship in 2019.

It set him on the path that led him to become an IOC Refugee Athlete Scholarship-holder in December last year. The prospect it now presents him with is one he values immensely. He writes:

"In this program, I will have the opportunity to participate in the Olympic Games and represent not only me, but millions of people around the world who, like me, were forced to leave their home and dreams behind."

As for how he reflects on the home he was compelled to escape from Sella never lets a day go by without it. He eats arepas, a Venezuelan national dish, every single day.