The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on June 8, 2021, approved the list of 29 refugee athletes in the Refugee Olympic Team Tokyo 2020. The refugee athletes will compete at the Tokyo 2020 under the Olympic flag.
The 29 refugee athletes met for the first time online on June 8, 2021, during a virtual ceremony where IOC President Thomas Bach congratulated the athletes and officially announced their participation in the Tokyo 2020.
The complete IOC Refugee Olympic Team (EOR) Tokyo 2020 will meet in person for the first time at the Aspire Academy in Doha (Qatar) on July 12 and 13 before flying to Japan on July 14.
Bach said that the coming together of the athletes from the IOC Refugee Olympic Team and the National Olympic Committees in Tokyo on July 23 will send out a powerful message of hope, resilience, and solidarity to the world. Addressing the refugee athletes, Bach said, “You are an integral part of our Olympic community, and we welcome you with open arms.”
Filippo Grandi, High Commissioner, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, also congratulated the athletes in the Refugee Olympic Team Tokyo 2020. “UNHCR is incredibly proud to support them as they compete at the Tokyo Olympic Games.”
The IOC Refugee Olympic Team Tokyo 2020: Key points
•The 29 refugee athletes from 13 host National Olympic Committees comprising the Refugee Olympic Team (EOR) Tokyo 2020 will compete across 12 sports. The IOC Refugee Olympic Team will compete in Tokyo under the French acronym EOR, which stands for Equipe Olympique des Réfugiés.
•The IOC Refugee Olympic Team will enter the Opening Ceremony on July 23, 2021, in the second position immediately after Greece.
•Tegla Loroupe, an Olympian and former marathon world record-holder will be the Chef de Mission of the refugee athletes’ team. Olivier Niamkey from the IOC and Stephen Pattison from UNHCR will be the Deputy Chefs de Mission They will lead a delegation of 15 team officials and 20 coaches. The travel and participation expenses of the team would be covered by the Olympic Solidarity.
Selection of the IOC Refugee Olympic Team Tokyo 2020
•The IOC Refugee Olympic Team Tokyo 2020 was selected based on their sporting performance and refugee status as per the UNHCR. Along with personal background, representativity in terms of regions, sport, and gender were also considered.
•Twenty-nine athletes were selected among the refugee athletes who are currently supported by the IOC through the Olympic Scholarships for Refugee Athletes programme.
The IOC Refugee Olympic Team Tokyo 2020
The IOC Refugee Olympic Team Rio 2016
•The first-ever IOC Refugee Olympic Team competed at the Olympic Games Rio 2016. The team consisted of 10 refugee athletes. Six of those athletes – runners Rose Nathike Likonyen (800m), Paulo Amotun Lokoro (1,500m), James Nyang Chiengjiek (800m), Anjelina Nadai Lohalith (1,500m), swimmer Yusra Mardini, and judoka Popole Misenga will be a part of the IOC Refugee Olympic Team Tokyo 2020.
•Following the success of the IOC Refugee Olympic Team Rio 2016, the IOC had announced in 2018 that there will be an IOC Refugee Olympic Team Tokyo 2020.