ANKARA (AA) – Ten refugee athletes were selected Friday to compete in the 2016 Olympic Games in a unique special team.
In a statement, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach said: “This will be a symbol of hope for all the refugees in our world, and will make the world better aware of the magnitude of this crisis.
“These refugees have no home, no team, no flag, no national anthem,” he added.
The IOC said the athletes will “compete for the Refugee Olympic Team…and march with the Olympic flag immediately before host nation Brazil at the opening ceremony.”
Five athletes of South Sudanese origin, two each from Syria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and one from Ethiopia will compete in various disciplines including athletics, judo and swimming.
The news comes at a time when millions of people have fled wars in many African and Middle Eastern countries, including South Sudan and Syria.
Olympian and former marathon world-record-holder Tegla Loroupe (Kenya) was named the team’s chef de mission, the committee said.
It confirmed the team will be housed in the Olympic Village like all other competitors.