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Refugee team to make 2016 Olympics in historic move

History is to be made at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, as the first ever refugee team will take part.

The International Olympic Committee made the announcement after narrowing down the shortlist from 43 athletes to 10, plus 15 officials that will accompany the team. Competing will be 6 male and 4 female athletes, under the name ‘Refugee Olympic Team (ROT)’.

IOC President Thomas Bach said, upon announcing the team, “These refugees have no home, no team, no flag, no national anthem. We will offer them a home in the Olympic Village together with all the athletes of the word. The Olympic anthem will be played in their honour and the Olympic flag will lead them into the Olympic Stadium. This will be a symbol of hope for all the refugees in our world, and will make the world better aware of the magnitude of this crisis.”

Bach goes on to say how “It is also a signal to the international community that refugees are our fellow human beings and are an enrichment to society. These refugee athletes will show the world that despite the unimaginable tragedies that they have faced, anyone can contribute to society through their talent, skills and strength of the human spirit.”

The athletes taking part are:

  • Rami Anis, a male and Yusra Mardini, female, both originally from Syria will take part in Swimming.
  • Yiech Pur Biel, and James Nyang Chiengjiek, men from South Sudan are taking part in athletics, 800m and 400m respectively.
  • Yonas Kinde an Ehtiopian man involved in athletics and marathon.
  • Anjelina Nada Lohalith and Rose Nathike Lokonyen, females from South Sudan; running in 1500m and 800m athletics, respectively.
  • Paulo Amotun Lokoro, a South Sudan male running the 1500m athletics.
  • Yolande Bukasa Mabika a female from the Democratic Republic of the Congo will be competing in -70kg judo.
  • Popole Misenga a male from the Democratic Republic of the Congo will compete in -90kg judo.