Paris 2024 Olympics.. 9 Africans in the Refugee Olympic Team

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The Refugee Olympic Team, comprising athletes from diverse backgrounds, including swimming, canoeing, boxing, and more, is set to compete in 12 sports at the Paris Games commencing on July 24th. A total of 36 athletes will represent the team.

Among them are 23 men and 13 women hailing from 11 different countries, all recipients of scholarships from the International Olympic Committee’s solidarity program for refugee athletes.

Notable female members include boxer Cindy Ngamba and Ethiopian runner Farida Abaroge. On the male side, athletes like Kasra Mehdipournejad, an Iranian taekwondo athlete residing in Germany, and shooter Edilio Francisco Centeno Nieves from Venezuela, feature prominently.

The Refugee Team was initially established by the IOC for the 2016 Rio Olympics, providing displaced athletes with the opportunity to continue competing despite fleeing their home countries.

“This is something we should all appreciate; beyond their performance, it’s about the emotional significance, sending a symbol of hope to over 100 million people who unfortunately had to migrate, raising awareness of the magnitude of this crisis. The presence of these elite athletes, representing over 100 million refugees and migrants worldwide, should make them very proud. And they should rejoice. Simultaneously,” remarked Thomas Bach, President of the IOC.

In Rio, ten athletes represented the team, with Syrian swimmer Yusra Mardini notably being the first to compete. Three years later, at the Tokyo Games, the team expanded to 29 athletes competing across 12 disciplines.


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