To shed a light on the refugee crisis, the Olympic Games in Rio will have a Refugee Olympic Team (ROT) competing this summer. One team, ten members. And everyone has their own unbelievable story. With their background and difficult experiences they come to Rio to show the world their talent and skills. They are an inspiration and a source of hope and that’s why Mvslim wants you to meet all ten members of the team. So here they are.
Anjelina Nadai Lohalith is from South Sudan. She fled her home when she was just eight years old. Even through difficult times, Anjelina worked hard and it payed off. She earned a spot on the Olympic Refugee Team and will compete in the 1500 metres.
Yolande Mabika is a refugee from The Congo and currently lives in Brasil. Because of the war she was orphaned and at a very young age she fled her country. ‘I will be like an example’, she says. ‘An example to the world. They can do like I’m doing. They can win the medal.’ Yolande will compete in judo.
Rose Nathike Lokonyen was only ten years old when she fled the war in South Sudan. Now she will be competing in the 800 metres. She says, ‘I want to bring people together and come as a team.’
Yiech Pur Biel was also born in South Sudan and fled to Kenya alone when he was just a teenager. He feels his participation in the Olympics is something big and he wishes to be an ambassador for refugees all over the world. He will compete in the 800 metres.
To avoid being taken a child soldier, James Nyang Chiengjiek had to flee his village when he was thirteen years old. He sought refuge in Kenya and started training there with a group of runners. His motivation and strenght brought him all the way to Rio, where he will be competing in the 800 metres.
Yusra Mardini is from Syria and only seventeen years old. She trains in Berlin and will compete in the 100 metres freestyle. She says, ‘You are an athlete, you don’t think about whether you’re Syrian or from Germany. I think about my lane, my race, my swimming lessons; that’s it.’
Yonas Kinde fled Ethopia due to political problems and went to Luxembourg where he also trained for the Olympics. ‘Even if our situation is difficult, we still can have a good result’, he says. Yonas will compete in the marathon discipline.
Paulo Amotun Lokoro was born in South Sudan and fled to Kenya in 2006. ‘you represent refugees’, he says. ‘I raise a flag and show that I am one of the refugees in the camp and look where I am now.’ Paulo will compete in the 1,500 metres.
Rami Anis fled from Aleppo, Syria in 2011. He now lives in Belgium where he trained for the Olympics. His coach says, “Rami would’ve gone to the Olympics if there was no war in Syria. He has already competed in different competitions before the war such as the World Championships and the Asian Championships since he was sixteen years old.” Rami will compete in the 100 metres butterfly.
Popole Misenga is from The Congo and was only nine years old when he left his village. During the Worldchampionships in Rio in 2013, he made the decision to seek asylum there.
He wants to represent all the refugees of the world. ‘My medal will be a medal of the refugees’, he says. He will compete in Judo, category -90 kg.