29 athletes from 12 different sports will make up the Refugee Olympic Team which will participate in the Tokyo Olympics next month, The International Olympic Committee announced on Tuesday.
Scholarships provided by the IOC through the Olympic Scholarships for Refugee Athletes programme allowed for 56 athletes from 13 countries to train in the hope of realising their dream of making the Tokyo 2020 team.
Of these 56 athletes, 25 were chosen with an additional four athletes from the International Judo Federation Refugee Project being selected to round out the 29 athlete team.
The athletes will be competing in athletics, badminton, boxing, canoeing, cycling, judo, karate, taekwondo, shooting, swimming, weightlifting and wrestling.
The team will compete under the Olympic flag and will enter the stadium second at the Opening Ceremony, immediately after Greece, sending a strong message of inclusion.
For all official representations of the team such as medal ceremonies, the Olympic flag will be raised and the Olympic anthem will be played.
This will mark the second time the Refugee Olympic Team will compete at the games, first competing at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games with 10 athletes representing the team.
Six of those athletes will be part of the team in Tokyo with swimmer Yusra Mardini, judoka Popole Misenga and runners Anjelina Nadai Lohalith (1,500m), James Nyang Chiengjiek (800m), Paulo Amotun Lokoro (1,500m) and Rose Nathike Likonyen (800m).
A newcomer to the team is the 2016 Olympics bronze medalist Kimia Alizadeh who will compete in the 57kg taekwondo category.
At just 18 years of age, Alizadeh won a bronze medal in taekwondo representing Iran which she has since fled now living in Germany.
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The team will send an inspiring and powerful message of solidarity and hope to the world and bring further awareness to the plight of over 80 million displaced people worldwide.
IOC President Thomas Bach highlighted the strong message the team sends to refugees world wide.
“This will be a symbol of hope for all refugees in the world and will make the world better aware of the magnitude of this crisis. It is also a signal to the international community that refugees are our fellow human beings and are an enrichment to society.
“You are an integral part of our Olympic community, and we welcome you with open arms.”
Once the games are completed the IOC will continue supporting the athletes and those who missed out through various Olympic Solidarity programmes, including support for athlete career transitions and give them the opportunity to train for future editions of the Olympic Games
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