The Tokyo Olympics will see 207 National Organising Committees (NOCs) competing for medals including a Refugee Olympic Team.
The delayed 2020 Olympics will be memorable for so many reasons as over 11,000 athletes descend on Tokyo aiming to win gold.
The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
will be the first gender-balanced Olympic Games in history with 48.8% women’s participation.
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As a result, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have also actively encouraged countries to select two flag bearers, one male and one female, for the first time.
Each Olympian competing has their own background story, but for one group of athletes, the Refugee Olympic Team, their appearance at a Games is nothing short of remarkable.
What is the Refugee Olympic Team?
In the summer of 2015, the IOC established a Refugee Emergency Fund to help international aid agencies integrate refugees in sport.
As well as donating to help support the refugee crisis across the world, the IOC announced it would be inviting refugee athletes to compete in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Rio 2016 would be the Refugee Olympic Team’s first appearance with 10 members.
The Refugee Olympic Team has now almost tripled in size and consists of 29 athletes this year from a host of countries.
Syria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Eritrea, Venezuela, Iran, Afghanistan, and Cameroon are just some of the countries the athletes reside from.
Many of these athletes have had to flee their home countries due to conflict or civil wars, making it too dangerous for the Olympians to return.
Syrian refugee Yusra Mardini is one of the Olympic Refugee Team's flag bearers
Image credit: Getty Images
At the end of 2020, there were 82.4million forcibly displaced people worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, human rights violations or events seriously disturbing public order.
The Olympics say these athletes will “act as a symbol of hope for refugees worldwide and bring global attention to the magnitude of the refugee crisis.”
The athletes are selected from refugees supported by the IOC through the Olympic Scholarships for Refugee Athletes program.
The Refugee Olympic Team in Tokyo will be competing in athletics, badminton, boxing, canoeing, cycling, judo, karate, taekwondo, sport of shooting, swimming, weightlifting and wrestling.
Who are the 29 athletes of the Refugee Olympic Team?
Athlete - Gender - Event - Country of origin
Alaa Maso - M - Freestyle 50m swimming - Syria
Yusra Mardini - F - Butterfly 100m swimming - Syria
Dorian Keletala - M - 100m athletics - Congo
Rose Nathinke Likonyen - F - 800m athletics - South Sudan
James Nyang Chiengjiek - M - 800m athletics - South SUdan
Anjelina Nadai Lohalith - F -1500m athletics - South Sudan
Paulo Amotun Lokoro - M - 1500m athletics - South Sudan
Jamal Abdelmaj Eisa Mohammed - M - 5000m athletics - Sudan
Tachlowini Gabriyesos - M - Marathon - Eritrea
Aram Mahmoud - M - Badminton - Syria
Wessam Salamana - M - Lightweight boxing - Syria
The opening ceremony take place in Tokyo, Japan
Image credit: Getty Images
Eldric Sella Rodriguez - M - Middleweight boxing - Venezuela
Saeid Fazoula - M - Kayak (K-1) 1000m - Iran
Masomah Ali Zada - F - Time trial cycling - Afghanistan
Ahmad Badreddin Wais - M Time trial cycling - Syria
Sanda Aldass - F - Judo - Syria
Ahmad Alikaj - M - Judo - Syria
Muna Dahouk F - Judo - Syria
Javad Mahjoub - M - Judo - Iran
Popole Misenga - M - Judo - DR Congo
Nigara Shaeen - F - Judo - Afghanistan
Wael Shueb - M - Karate (kata) - Syria
Hamoon Derafshipour - M - Karate (kumite) - Iran
Luna Solomon - F - 10m air rifle shooting - Eritrea
Dina Pourounes Langeroudi - F - -49kg taekwondo - Iran
Kimia Alizadeh - F - -57kg taekwondo - Iran
Abdullah Sediqi - M - -68kg taekwondo - Afghanistan
Cyrille Fagat Tchatchet II - M - 96kg weightlifting - Cameroon
Aker Al Obaidi - M - -67kg wrestling - Iraq
What does EOR mean and what country is it?
Over the next fortnight, fans will come across the code ‘EOR’ on their TV screens when watching events and may be wondering what country that refers to.
It does not refer to a country and is instead the international code for the Refugee Olympic Team.
EOR comes from the French translation of Équipe olympique des réfugiés.
Keep an eye out for their appearance at the opening ceremony with the Refugee Olympic Team the second delegation to complete a lap of the National Stadium during the procession, behind Greece.
Yusra Mardini (swimming) and Tachlowini Gabriyesos (athletics) have been selected to carry the flag for the Refugee Olympic Team.
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