Wessam Salamana, IOC Refugee Olympic Team boxer, bows out in Tokyo 2020 opener

TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 25: Wessam Salamana (R) of Refugee Olympic Team exchanges punches with Wanderson de Oliveira of Brazil during the Men's Light (57-63kg) on day two of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Kokugikan Arena on July 25, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Luis Robayo - Pool/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 25: Wessam Salamana (R) of Refugee Olympic Team exchanges punches with Wanderson de Oliveira of Brazil during the Men's Light (57-63kg) on day two of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Kokugikan Arena on July 25, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Luis Robayo - Pool/Getty Images)

Nine years after he boxed at London 2012 for his home country of Syria, Salamana was back boxing at the Olympic Games for the Refugee Team.

For the first time in nearly a decade, boxer Wessam Salamana was back at the Olympic Games.

A member of the Syrian team at London 2012, Salamana returned to the Olympic stage as part of the IOC Refugee Olympic Team on Sunday (25 July), defeated in the first round of boxing competition at Tokyo 2020.

Salamana lost to Brazil's Wanderson de Oliveira in the men's lightweight (57-63kg) preliminary round, falling in a unanimous decision after three rounds.  

Salamana left Syria in 2015, seeking refuge in Germany. He began boxing at age 15 in Syria.

The father of two, Salamana also competes in kickboxing in German national competitions.

He has been outspoken about the power of sport for refugees.

"Boxing helped me a lot in integrating with the German people," he said in an Olympic Channel video. "Through boxing, a person can learn about different cultures."

He added: "I'll always be an athlete, I'll always be a boxer, despite the obstacles."

IOC Refugee Olympic Team Tokyo 2020 Announcement - Lausanne
34:23

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.