The Refugee Olympic Team features ten athletes, chosen from a shortlist of 43 that were identified at refugee camps in Africa and Europe. It includes two Syrian swimmers – Rami Anis and Yusra Mardini; South Sudanese runners Yiech Pur Biel (800m), James Nyang Chiengjiek (400m), Anjelina Nada Lohalith (1,500m), Rose Nathike Lokonyen (800m), and Paulo Amotun Lokoro (1,500m); Ethiopian marathon runner Yonas Kinde; and judo players Yolande Mabika and Popole Misenga, both from Democratic Republic of the Congo.
As the film below explains, all are “champions against all odds” having fled violence and devastation in their home countries before then training to compete in the Olympics.
The film acts as a trailer for a long-form documentary about the refugee team that will be completed after the Games have taken place. It is a co-production between Just So and Grey London and is backed by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. The hope is that the team’s participation in the Olympics will also help raise understanding of the plight of the 65.3 million people who are currently displaced around the world due to persecution, conflict, generalised violence or human rights violations.
“These ten remarkable athletes embody the determination and resilience of the many millions of people fleeing conflict and persecution worldwide,” said Melissa Fleming, UNHCR’s head of communications and public information. “They remind us that refugees are people just like you and me, people who want to achieve their full potential against all odds.”
The UNHCR is urging those inspired by the film and the Refugee Olympic Team to pledge support at withrefugees.org.
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