After the historic debut in Rio Olympics, a refugee team will compete for the second successive Games in the Tokyo 2020. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved the creation of the Refugee Team during its 133rd Session in the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires, on Tuesday.
Since the start of modern Olympics in 1896, over 200 national teams have competed at the Summer and Winter Olympic Games, but for the first time, a team of refugees competed in Rio four years ago.
"In an ideal world, we would not need to have a Refugee Team at the Olympic Games. But, unfortunately, the reasons why we first created a Refugee Olympic Team before the Olympic Games Rio 2016 continue to persist," IOC President Thomas Bach said.
"This is the continuation of an exciting, human and Olympic journey, and a reminder to refugees that they are not forgotten,” Bach added.
The committee has mandated its commission of Olympic Solidarity to establish the conditions for participation, identification and selection of the Refugee Team in cooperation with the National Olympic Committees and the UN Refugee Agency, among others.
In Rio, ten refugee athletes from four countries competed under Refugee Olympic Team with the country code ROT. They are Rami Anis (men/swimming; country of origin - Syria), Yiech Pur Biel (men/athletics - 400m; country of origin – South Sudan), James Nyang Chiengjiek (m/athletics - 800m; country of origin - South Sudan), Yonas Kinde (m/athletics - marathon; country of origin - Ethiopia), Anjelina Nada Lohalith (f/athletics - 1500m; country of origin - South Sudan), Rose Nathike Lokonyen (f/athletics - 800m; country of origin - South Sudan), Paulo Amotun Lokoro (m/athletics - 1500m; country of origin - South Sudan), Yolande Bukasa Mabika (f/judo - 70kg; country of origin - Democratic Republic of the Congo), Yusra Mardini (f/swimming; country of origin - Syria) and Popole Misenga (m/judo - 90kg; country of origin - Democratic Republic of the Congo)
This is a part of IOC's continued commitment to the refugee cause, which has become a worldwide humanitarian crisis.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics are slated to take place from July 24 to August 9 and August 25 to September 6, respectively.
(With Agency inputs)