Meet the 29 athletes that have been chosen to compete in Japan in 2021, and deliver a message of solidarity to millions of refugees around the world.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) have revealed the names of the athletes who will represent the IOC Refugee Olympic Team at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in 2021.
The final 29 athletes announced on Tuesday (8th June) come from 11 countries, and were selected by the IOC’s Executive Board from an initial group of 55 IOC Refugee Athlete Scholarship-holders.
"The refugee athletes are an enrichment for all of us in the entire Olympic community," IOC President Thomas Bach said at the virtual ceremony from Lausanne. "The reasons we created this team still exist. We have more forcibly displaced people in the world right now, and therefore it went without saying that we wanted to create an IOC Refugee Olympic Team for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics".
"The athletes represent not only themselves, not only the IOC, but also all refugees in the world," IOC Refugee Olympic Team Chef de Mission Tegla Loroupe added. "Let's bring solidarity, as we are solidarity people.
"Our universal language is sport, let's go and bring joy."
During the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Games on 23 July 2021, the team will enter the brand new Japan National Stadium with the Olympic flag in second position, immediately after Greece.
The team will stay in the Olympic village, like all the other 206 National Olympic Committees taking part, and continue to receive IOC support after the Games.
For all official representations of the team (including possible medal ceremonies), the Olympic flag will be raised and the Olympic anthem will be played.
Tokyo 2020 President HASHIMOTO Seiko said: "The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee welcomes the participation of the IOC Refugee Olympic Team at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, following its debut at the Olympic Games Rio 2016.
"The participation of the IOC Refugee Olympic Team in the Tokyo 2020 Games, which will be both a festival of sport and a celebration of peace, will draw the world's attention to the issue of refugees and further advance efforts to achieve world peace through the elimination of the wars and conflicts that cause people to flee their homeland."
On 08 June, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will announce the names of the athletes who will be compete at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 as part of the Refugee Olympic Team, sending a message of hope to the world this summer and bringing further awareness to the plight of over 80 million displaced people worldwide.
Athletes (Click on each name to read about their journey to the Olympics)
Abdullah Sediqi (Afghanistan) - Taekwondo (Men’s -68kg)
Ahmad Baddredin Wais (Syrian Arab Republic) - Cycling (Men’s Road)
Ahmad Alikaj (Syrian Arab Republic) - Judo (Men’s Mixed team)
Aker Al Obaidi (Iraq) - Wrestling (Men’s Greco-Roman -67kg)
Alaa Maso (Syrian Arab Republic) - Swimming (Men’s 50m Freestyle)
Aram Mahmoud (Syrian Arab Republic) - Badminton (Men’s singles)
Cyrille Fagat Tchatchet II (Cameroon) - Weightlifting (Men’s -96kg)
Dina Pouryounes Langeroudi (Islamic Republic of Iran) - Taekwondo (Women’s -49kg)
Eldric Sella Rodriguez (Venezuela) - Boxing (Men’s -75kg)
Hamoon Derafshipour (Islamic Republic of Iran) - Karate (Men’s -67kg)
Jamal Abdelmaji Eisa Mohammed (Sudan) - Athletics (Men’s 5,000m)
James Nyang Chiengjiek (South Sudan) - Athletics (Men’s 800m)
Javad Majoub (Islamic Republic of Iran) - Judo (Men’s Mixed team)
Kimia Alizadeh Zenozi (Islamic Republic of Iran) - Taekwondo (Women’s -57kg)
Luna Solomon (Eritrea) - Shooting (Women’s Air Rifle 10m)
Masomah Ali Zada (Afghanistan) - Cycling (Women’s Road)
Muna Dahouk (Syrian Arab Republic) - Judo (Women’s Mixed team)
Nigara Shaheen (Afghanistan) - Judo (Women’s Mixed team)
Popole Misenga (DR Congo) - Judo (Men’s Mixed team)
Saeid Fazloula (Islamic Republic of Iran) - Canoe (Men’s 500m)
Sanda Aldass (Syrian Arab Republic) - Judo (Women’s Mixed Team)
Tachlowini Gabriyesos (Eritrea) - Athletics (Men’s Marathon)
Wael Sheub (Syrian Arab Republic) - Karate (Men’s Kata)
Wessam Salamana (Syrian Arab Republic) - Boxing (Men’s -57kg)
Yusra Mardini (Syrian Arab Republic) - Swimming (Women’s 100m Butterfly)
IOC Refugee Olympic Team history
At the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in October 2015, confronted with the global refugee crisis that has seen millions of people in the world displaced, IOC President Thomas Bach announced the creation of the Refugee Olympic Team – the first of its kind – to take part in the Olympic Games Rio 2016.
The goal was to send a message of hope and solidarity to millions of refugees around the world, and inspire people from all walks of life with the strength of their spirit.
Ten months later, ten athletes representing four countries took part under the mentorship of Tegla Lorouple, including Tokyo 2020 returners Paulo Amotun Lokoro, People Misenga, Rose Nathike Lokonyen and Yusra Mardini.
In October 2018, the IOC Session decided that there would be a Refugee Olympic Team for Tokyo 2020, and entrusted Olympic Solidarity with the task of establishing the conditions for participation and defining the identification and selection process for a team in Tokyo. This process was carried out in close collaboration with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the National Olympic Committees, the International Sports Federations and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee.
Athletes who were awarded IOC Athlete Refugee Scholarships benefitted from funding and training support from local NOCs, which allowed them to concentrate on chasing their Olympic dream.
First ever team of refugee athletes receive standing ovation at the Rio 2016 Opening Ceremony.