The current 37 Refugee Athlete Scholarship-Holders include the 10 athletes who were part of the first IOC Refugee Olympic Team Rio 2016, 13 new individual athletes, and a group of athletes preparing at the Tegla Loroupe Refugee Training Centre in Kenya. All are being assisted by Olympic Solidarity through its Refugee Athletes Support Programme.
Through training grants, Olympic Solidarity and their host National Olympic Committees (NOCs) help refugee athletes not only to train with the aim of qualifying for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, but also to continue their sporting career and to build their future.
“On World Refugee Day, we celebrate the strength, courage and perseverance of millions of refugees,” said IOC President Thomas Bach. “With the announcement of the list of Refugee Scholarship-Holders, we want to show that refugees are an enrichment to sport and to society. All athletes announced today are aiming to be part of the IOC Refugee Olympic Team Tokyo 2020. This team is the continuation of a human journey that started with the first IOC Refugee Olympic Team Rio 2016. The team will send a signal of hope to all the refugees around the world and will be a reminder to everybody of the magnitude of the refugee crisis.”
“Sport is a universal language that transcends borders, walls, wars and other barriers,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. “It’s a powerful tool for helping refugees to heal, grow and become part of their new communities. These inspirational athletes are a symbol for refugees all around the world. They show what can be achieved, against all odds, through resilience, determination and dedication to what you love.”
Coming from Afghanistan, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Islamic Republic of Iran, South Sudan, Sudan and Syria, the Refugee Scholarship-Holders are competing in athletics, badminton, boxing, judo, karate, swimming, taekwondo and weightlifting.
Their refugee status has been confirmed by UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR); and the support of host NOCs (Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Germany, Great Britain, Israel, Jordan, Luxembourg, Portugal, the Netherlands and Turkey) as well as the International Federations has been and will be instrumental in securing their training in the lead-up to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
The decision to have an IOC Refugee Olympic Team at Tokyo 2020 was taken by the IOC Session in October 2018.
This decision builds on the legacy of the IOC Refugee Olympic Team Rio 2016, which also led to the creation of the Olympic Refuge Foundation. With the Olympic Refuge Foundation, the IOC furthers its commitment to using sport to help refugees across the globe. Working closely with UNHCR, the IOC’s partner for the last 25 years, the Foundation supports projects beyond the Games, offering ongoing support to refugees and displaced people by creating safe sports facilities and developing sporting activities in these environments. The aim of the Foundation is for one million forcibly displaced young people to have access to safe sport by 2024.
The composition of the IOC Refugee Olympic Team (EOR)* Tokyo 2020 will be announced in June 2020.
* The IOC Refugee Olympic Team will compete in Tokyo under the acronym EOR which stands for Equipe Olympique des Réfugiés.
The International Olympic Committee is a not-for-profit independent international organisation made up of volunteers, which is committed to building a better world through sport. It redistributes more than 90 per cent of its income to the wider sporting movement, which means that every day the equivalent of 3.4 million US dollars goes to help athletes and sports organisations at all levels around the world.
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