by Marianna Grazi
They will be 29 athletes of the Refugee team, who will participate in the Tokyo 2020 + 1 Olympics. The official appointments were made known by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Present in twelve different sports disciplines, will compete under the five-circle white flag, symbol of the Games.
The athletes were selected from among the refugees currently supported by the IOC through the programma ‘Olympic Scholarships for Refugee Athletes’. Introduced for the first time atRio 2016 edition, this team 5 years ago had 10 members. The decision to expand it was taken by the IOC Executive who met in videoconference. But the team, in addition to being almost three times larger, also changes the name. The acronym of the Refugee Olympic Team (ROT) has in fact been replaced by the French name Olympic Refugee Team (EOR).
The president of the IOC Thomas Bach, in complimenting the nominations of the athletes, he stressed that “Refugee athletes are a enrichment for all of us of the entire Olympic community. The reasons why we created this team still exist ”. “Congratulations to all of you, I speak on behalf of the entire Olympic movement when I say that we look forward to meeting you in person and to see you compete in Tokyo – he added addressing the athletes – When you, the Olympic team of IOC refugees and the athletes of the National Olympic Committees from all over the world, will finally gather in Tokyo on July 23, you will send a powerful message of solidarity, resilience and hope to the world: you are an integral part of our community Olympic “.
During the opening ceremony of the Games the team will parade in the brand new Japan National Stadium in second position, immediately after Greece, then, like the rest of the delegations, will live inside the Olympic village for the entire duration of the competitions. On all official occasions (including any medal ceremonies), the Olympic flag will be hoisted and the Olympic anthem will be played.
“The Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee welcomes the participation of the IOC Olympic Refugee Team at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games after their debut at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games – said the Tokyo 2020 President. Seiko Hashimoto – The participation of the IOC Olympic Refugee Team in the Tokyo 2020 Games, which will be both a sports festival and a celebration of peace, will draw the world’s attention to the issue, further strengthening efforts to achieve world peace through the elimination of wars and conflicts that drive people to flee their homeland ”.
The athletes of the refugee team in Tokyo 2020 + 1: Abdullah Sediqi (Afghanistan) – Taekwondo, Ahmad Baddredin Wais (Syria) – Cycling, Ahmad Alikaj (Syria) – Judo, Aker Al Obaidi (Iraq) – Lotta, Alaa Maso (Syria) – Swimming, Angel Nadai Lohalith (South Sudan) – Athletics, Aram Mahmoud (Siria) – Badminton, Cyrille Fagat Tchatchet II (Cameroon) – Weightlifting, Dina Pouryounes Langeroudi (Iran) – Taekwondo, Dorian Keletela (Congo) – Athletics, Eldric Sella Rodriguez (Venezuela) – Boxing, Hamoon Derafshipour (Iran) – Karate, Jamal Abdelmaji Eisa Mohammed (Sudan) – Athletica, James Nyang Chiengjiek (South Sudan) – Athletics, Javad Majoub (Iran) – Judo, Kimia Alizadeh Zenozi (Iran) – Taekwondo, Luna Solomon (Eritrea) – Tire, Masomah Ali Zada (Afghanistan) – Cycling, Muna Dahouk (Syria) – Judo, Nigara Shaheen (Afghanistan) – Judo, Paulo Amotun Lokoro (South Sudan) – Athletics, Popole Misenga (DR Congo) – Judo, Rose Nathike Lokonyen (Sud Sudan) – Athletica, Saeid Fazloula (Iran) – Canoa, Sanda Aldass (Syria) – Judo, Tachlowini Gabriyesos (Eritrea) – Athletics, Wael Sheub (Siria) – Karate, Wessam Salamana (Syria) – Boxing, Yusra Mardini (Syria) – Swimming.
The birth of the Olympic Refugee Team dates back toUnited Nations General Assembly in October 2015, when, in front of the global crisis which has seen millions of people displaced around the world, IOC President Thomas Bach had announced its creation, with the aim of making it participate in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The intent was to send a message of hope and solidarity to millions of refugees around the world and to inspire people from all walks of life with the strength of their spirit.