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Refugee Olympic Team: Meet The Athletes Competing In Rio 2016, Yusra Mardini, Rami Anis And More

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(Photo : Getty Images )

The first ever refugee team will participate at the games in Rio, representing not a country, but the 65 million people displaced (internally, or outside their country) by war and persecution.

The team has been organized by the International Olympic Committee with the help of national Olympic committees hosting the athletes in Belgium, Brazil, Luxembourg, and Germany.

The point is to give them a chance to compete while also raising awareness about the worst refugee crisis since World War II.

The ten athletes represent Syria, South Sudan, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Despite overcoming unimaginable hardships on their way to Rio, all of the athletes share an ardent desire that their refugee status not define them.

"We still are humans," said Yusra Mardini, "We are not only refugees, we are like everyone in the world."

Mardini will be the first of the refugee delegation to compete, on Aug. 6, and Yonas Kinde will be last, competing in the marathon.

Scroll down for details of the ten members of the Olympic Refugee Team.

Paulo Amotun Lokoro


(Photo : Reuters)


Country of Origin: South Sudan

Age: 25/26

Sport: Track & Field

Event: M 1500m

He fled his home in South Sudan in 2006 to escape the civil war and now lives in Kenya.

Anjelina Nadai Lohalith


(Photo : REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya ) (L-R) Paulo Amotun Lokoro, Rose Nathike Lokonyen, Yiech Pur Biel, Anjelina Nada Lohalith, James Nyang Chiengjiek. 

 

Country of Origin: South Sudan

Age: 21/22

Sport: Track & Field

Event: W 1500m

In 2001 when Lohalith was six years old she had to leave her home when her country was gripped by civil war and violence closed in on her village. She arrived in northern Kenya in 2002, settling in the Kakuma refugee camp.

James Nyang Chiengjiek


(Photo : REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya ) Rose Nathike Lokonyen and James Nyang Chiengjiek 

 

Country of Origin: South Sudan

Age: 27/28

Sport: Track & Field

Event: M 400m

In 1999 Chiengjiek's father, who was a soldier, was killed and at the age of 13 he left South Sudan and escaped to Kenya as a refugee to avoid being recruited by rebels as a child soldier. In 2002 he ended up at the Kakuma refugee camp. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) officially granted him refugee status in December 2014.

 

Yiech Pur Biel

 #olympicrefugeeteam

A photo posted by Amethyst White (@amethystwhite) on

 

Country of Origin: South Sudan  

Age: 21  Sport: Track & Field  

Event: M 800m  

In 2005 he fled from his home town of Nasir in Sudan to escape a civil war. After living in the Kakuma Refugee Camp for 10 years, he started running competitively in 2015 when he was selected to join the Tegla Loroupe Foundation which holds athletic trials in Kakuma. Nowadays he trains under Tegla Loroupe herself in the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

 

Yusra Mardini

Who's ready for the olympics! #rio2016olympics __ #yusramardini representing #teamrefugees in #rio2016 A photo posted by Yusra Mardini Official (@yusra_mardini) on


Country of Origin: Syria  

Age: 18  

Sport: Swimming

Events: W 100m butterfly/ W 100m freestyle  

In 2015 fled Syria with her sister and embarked on a 25-day ordeal that included helping drag a sinking boat full of fellow refugees to safety. She ended up in a refugee camp in Germany where she now lives.

 

Rami Anis

#training #camp #hungary #rio2016 __ A photo posted by rami (@rami_anis) on

 

Country of Origin: Syria
Age: 25
Sport: Swimming
Event: M 100m freestyle/ 100m butterfly

His family sent him by car across the Turkish border to the city of Antakya, then by plane to Istanbul, where he joined an older brother who lived there. It was the start of a long odyssey that would eventually see him settle in Belgium as a refugee.

Rose Nathike Lokonyen


(Photo : Getty Images )

 

Country of Origin: South Sudan

Age: 23/24

Sport: Track & Field

Event: W 1500m

Having fled the South Sudan civil war Lokonyen now lives and trains in Kenya with Tegla Loroupe, a Kenyan world record holding long-distance runner. She was selected by IOC to be the team's flag bearer at the Opening Ceremony.  


Yolande Bukasa Mabika

Country of Origin: Democratic Republic of Congo

Age: 29

Sport: Judo

Event: W 70kg

Mabika is from the Bukavu area of the Democratic Republic of Congo, an area severely affected by the Second Congo War.[1] During the conflict she was separated from her parents and was taken to a children's home in the capital Kinshasa. There she took up judo. She sought political asylum in Brazil after travelling there to compete in the 2013 World Judo Championships along with fellow judoka Popole Misenga. The UNHCR officially granted her refugee status in September 2014.

Popole Misenga


(Photo : Reuters )

 

Country of Origin: Democratic Republic of Congo

Age: 24

Sport: Judo

Event: M 90kg

Like Yolande Bukasa Mabika he is from the Bukavu area of the Democratic Republic of Congo. His mother was murdered when he was just six years old. He sought political asylum in Brazil after travelling there to compete in the 2013 World Judo Championships along with fellow judoka Yolande Mabika. The UNHCR officially granted him refugee status in September 2014. Misenga is now married to a Brazilian woman and they have a son.

 

Yonas Kinde

 Do you like this? @teamrefugees #teamrefugees #YonasKinde #root4refugees #r4r #olympicgames #yourule #thanxalot!

A photo posted by 11th member of Team Refugee (@refugeeguy11) on


Country of Origin: Ethiopia

Age: 36

Sport: Track & Field

Event: M marathon

Kinde, originally from Ethiopia, left his country due to political problems. He has been living in Luxembourg since 2012, who has been under international protection in Luxembourg since 2013. Kinde takes French lessons and drives a taxi to get by.

 

(L-R) Paulo Amotun Lokoro of 1500m, Rose Nathike Lokonyen of 800m, Yiech Pur Biel of 800m,
(Photo : REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya) (L-R) Paulo Amotun Lokoro, Rose Nathike Lokonyen, Yiech Pur Biel 

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