The Refugee Olympic Team (EOR) is participating at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 with 29 athletes, from 11 countries, competing in 12 sports. The Refugee Olympic Team’s official acronym is EOR, based on the French name: équipe olympique des réfugiés.
Thanks to scholarships provided by the IOC through Olympic Solidarity, 56 promising refugee athletes from 13 countries have been training hard in the hope of making it to the Tokyo 2020 team. The 56 Refugee Athlete Scholarship-holders come from 21 host countries – Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Egypt, France, Germany, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Luxembourg, Portugal, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom – and represent 12 sports: athletics, badminton, boxing, canoeing, cycling, judo, karate, taekwondo, sport of shooting, swimming, weightlifting, and wrestling.
The IOC will continue to support the refugee athletes even after the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
Rose Nathike, flagbearer for the first-ever IOC Refugee Olympic Team at Rio 2016, has been flying the flag for refugees at Tokyo 2020 too.
Cyrille Tchatchet II of the IOC Refugee Olympic Team made his Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020.
The Cameroonian lifter came second in Group B of the men’s 96kg weightlifting competition, to finish tenth overall in the event.
Every lift Tchatchet made was greeted with applause and cheers from fellow competitors, volunteers and team delegations all in the arena. The emotional support kept the refugee athlete’s spirits high and his scores even higher.
IOC Refugee Olympic Team member Anjelina Nadai Lohalith made Tokyo 2020 another milestone to remember after she ran a personal best performance in the 1500m.
The South Sudan born runner clocked 4:31.65 in her heat to finish the race in 14th position. Although Lohalith didn’t qualify for the following round of competition, the performance marks her as a runner on the rise.
In her last Olympic outing at Rio 2016, Lohalith ran 4:47.38 – indicating just how far along the 28-year-old has come in her competitive athletics journey.
IOC Refugee Olympic Team sprinter Dorian Keletela ‘s journey at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics has come to an end after he finished his men’s 100m heat in eighth place.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo-born athlete achieved his goal of making it to the second stage after he ran in some style to set a new personal best time of 10.33 in the preliminary rounds.
Aram Mahmoud, ranked 172 in the world, made his Olympic debut against Indonesia’s world number seven Jonatan Christie and played his second group stage match against Singapore’s Loh Kean Yew.
The 24-year-old lost both his matches in straight games, but feels he has gained invaluable experience by playing against such high-calibre opponents.
“It’s very good that I could see or feel the pressure from the top players. I know now I have to work harder and harder to be at that little level and to be able to challenge them” he said.
Being at the Games has also helped him identify areas that he needs to improve on. “My first lesson is that it doesn’t matter how big the tournament is, I have to stay focussed.”
IOC Refugee Olympic Team road cyclist Ahmad Badreddin Wais put on a valiant display in the road cycling men’s time trial on Wednesday (28 July).
The hot humid, weather at Tokyo 2020 made for difficult cycling conditions and the Syrian-born athlete looked exhausted as he crossed the line. In the end, the Wais finished in last position, +13.36.27 adrift of first-place.
It was a fantastic effort for a cyclist that not so long ago was fleeing war in his homeland, leading to a few years away from competition.
Eyes aimed at making her Olympic debut, IOC Refugee Olympic Team shooter Luna Solomon did just that on Saturday (24 July).
Solomon, originally from Eritrea, finished in 50th place in the women’s 10m air rifle, the first event to hand out medals at Tokyo 2020.
While she didn’t advance to the final, just competing was important to the 27-year-old, a mother, and who trains under Olympic champion shooter Niccolo Campriani of Italy.
“The journey is not easy, but it is possible to progress and succeed in sports and activities like people born of other nationalities,” Solomon said Thursday before she competed.
Five years after Yusra Mardini was a part of the inaugural IOC Refugee Olympic Team, the Syrian native and German resident competed in the 100m butterfly at Tokyo 2020.
It was another chapter in her inspiring story. Mardini finished in third place in her heat, clocking a time of 1:06.78. Only the top 16 swimmers of 33 qualified for the semi-finals.
Mardini was unable to do so. The 23 year old was one of the flagbearers for the Refugee Team at Friday’s Opening Ceremony, one of the many accolades she’s received outside of the pool.
It was an Olympic debut to remember for IOC Refugee Olympic Team athlete Masomah Ali Zada at Tokyo 2020.
The Afghanistan-born road cyclist may have finished 25th out of 25 athletes in the women’s individual time trial, but the result is not of significance.
Given the hardships and trauma Masomah has lived through, the fact that she is competing at the Olympic Games is a triumph against significant odds.
Her story provides hope and inspiration to millions of women and displaced people around the world, showing them that they too can achieve their dreams.