International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach today met for the first time with the team of coaches, doctors and officials who will support the Refugee Olympic Team (ROT) at this summer’s Olympic Games Rio 2016.Chef de Mission Tegla Loroupe (Kenya) and Deputy Chef de Mission Isabela Mazão (Brazil), who was proposed by the UNHCR, which is supporting the IOC on this project, will lead a team of five coaches and five other team officials charged with taking care of all the required technical needs of the athletes. President Bach told the team officials that their precedent-setting work would leave an indelible mark on Olympic history.
“There has never been such a team before – the IOC has never organised such a team before so it is new for everyone, it is without precedent”, the IOC President said. “The Refugee Olympic Team reflects the true Olympic spirit. We want to give these refugee athletes a home, we want to offer them the same opportunity as all the other athletes of the world. We want to send a message to the world that these refugee athletes, like all refugees, can be an enrichment. They are a fantastic expression of the Olympic spirit.”
We want to send a message to the world that these refugee athletes, like all refugees, can be an enrichment. They are a fantastic expression of the Olympic spirit.Thomas Bach IOC President
Loroupe, a three-time Olympian and former marathon world record-holder, said: “This Refugee Olympic Team will give hope to hope-less people. These athletes unite us all together – they are a symbol not just for sport but for the whole world. The refugee issue is not a new one, it has happened before but this team gives us all an idea of our shared humanity.”
The ROT officials include:• Mr Robert Mutsauki (Team Administrator)
• Ms Eunice Hasango (Team Administrator and Assistant Coach of the Tegla Loroupe Training Center for Refugee Athletes)
• Ms Sophie Edington (Press attaché/business manager/spokesperson)
• Mr Carlo Edoardo Bagutti (Team Doctor)
• Mr Bruno Paillat (Team Physiotherapist)
• Mr Geraldo de Moraes Bernardes (Coach of Popole Misenga and Yolande Bukasa Mabika)
• Mr Joseph Domongole (Coach of the Tegla Loroupe Training Center for Refugee Athletes)
• Mr Yves Göldi (Coach of Yonas Kinde)
• Mr Sven Spannekrebs (Coach of Yusra Mardini)
• Ms Carine Verbauwen (Coach of Rami Anis)
On Tuesday, the IOC President met Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, to discuss the ROT. Earlier this month, President Bach toured the Rio 2016 Olympic Village with two members of the ROT during a trip to Brazil. Together with judokas Popole Misenga and Yolande Bukasa Mabika, the IOC President visited the rooms they will live in for the duration the Olympic Games Rio 2016, from 5 to 21 August. The two athletes are from the Democratic Republic of Congo and now live in Brazil after being granted refugee status.Click here for more information on the ROT.