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Masomah Ali Zada

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About Masomah

Masomah Ali Zada is a refugee cyclist and a high-profile supporter of UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.

Masomah’s passion for sports began at a young age. At nine years old, she hopped onto a bicycle for the first time. Born in Afghanistan, she faced the constraints of a conservative community where girls were discouraged from cycling. However, her dream burned brightly, and she possessed an innate talent for the sport.

When she and a group of women started racing competitively, Masomah encountered challenges within her community. Despite physical and verbal harassment while cycling, she remained undeterred. She persevered, eventually competing as a member of the Afghan women’s national cycling team.


Amidst Afghanistan’s escalating difficulties, Masomah fled the country, seeking asylum in France in 2017. There, she attained refugee status. Learning French, continuing her studies, and receiving an IOC Refugee Athlete Scholarship, her Olympic dream remained alive.

Competing in the Tokyo Olympics was a momentous achievement for Masomah. Her participation showcased her athletic prowess and symbolized hope and resilience for millions of displaced people worldwide. Building on her remarkable journey, Masomah now leads the Refugee Olympic Team for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Currently pursuing civil engineering at the University of Lille, Masomah’s passion extends beyond sports. She determinedly advocates for refugee rights, with a particular focus on supporting refugee women and girls. Through several UNHCR initiatives, she continues to amplify their needs globally, emphasizing gender equality and social integration through the powerful medium of sport.


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UNHCR activity

In addition to her athletic achievements, Masomah has been actively involved with UNHCR since 2021.

In 2021, Masomah participated in UNHCR’s INTER’ACT program, which brings together refugees and middle school students. Through encounters and discussions, they explore the journeys of refugees, the challenges they face abroad and in France, their courage, their talent and their contributions to society. 

Masomah’s media engagements over the years underscore her commitment to UNHCR. She seizes the opportunity to amplify her voice on every platform, advocating passionately for displaced persons worldwide.


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In 2021, she penned an op-ed for the newspaper Le Monde, expressing immense pride in representing uprooted communities and emphasizing the vital role of sports in the lives of refugees.

In 2023, as part of the French delegation, Masomah shared powerful advocacy messages with world leaders during the Global Refugee Forum.

Masomah’s leadership exemplifies the transformative power of sport and the potential of refugees to contribute positively to society. Her unwavering commitment extends beyond medals and podiums; it encompasses empowerment and the belief that everyone deserves a chance to achieve their dreams.


News and highlights

Find the latest news and key highlights about Masomah's work as a high-profile supporter.