Monday 24 July 2017

'Between five or 10' athletes to compete for refugee team at Rio Olympics

A refugee team to compete at Rio Olympics
A refugee team to compete at Rio Olympics

Mark Staniforth

Olympic officials have announced there could be as many as 10 refugee athletes on a newly-created team to compete in the Rio Games this summer.

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said he expected "between five or 10" individuals to make up the final team, from a current group of 43 prospective candidates.

Bach added he hoped the move would provide a "message of hope" in the midst of Europe's refugee crisis.

Bach said: "By welcoming the team of refugee Olympic athletes to the Olympic Games Rio 2016, we want to send a message of hope for all refugees in our world.

"Having no national team to belong to, having no flag to march behind, having no national anthem to be played, these refugee athletes will be welcomed to the Olympic Games with the Olympic flag and with the Olympic anthem.

"They will have a home together with all the other 11,000 athletes from 206 national Olympic committees in the Olympic Village."

The IOC's executive board ratified the proposal in Lausanne on Wednesday, saying the final team of refugee Olympic athletics will be finalised at the next IOC executive board meeting in June.

Criteria for athletes to join the refugee Olympic team includes official verification of refugee status by the United Nations, as well as personal situation and background.

Press Association

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