Refugee team in Paris 2024 is made up of 36 athletes

LAUSANNE.- The refugee team in the Paris Olympic Games It will be made up of 36 athletes of eleven different nationalities, with the hope of winning the first medal for this group, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced this Thursday.

Led by the Afghan cyclist Masomah Ali Zada, who studies in Lille and who already participated three years ago in the Tokyo Games, the 23 men and 13 women will participate in the river parade along the Seine only behind Greece, the Olympic nation, at the opening ceremony on July 26, ahead of the rest of the delegations.

“It will send a message of hope to more than 100 million displaced people in the world. At the same time, it will serve to raise awareness among billions of people of the extent of the refugee crisis,” he said by videoconference. the president of the IOC, Thomas Bach.

The athletes have been selected for their “sports performance”, but also trying to achieve “a balanced representation” of sports, gender and countries of origin, according to the IOC.

There will be athletes from Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, Sudan, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Cuba and Venezuela, who live in 15 different countries; United States, Canada, Mexico, Kenya, Jordan, Israel and nine European countries.

The delegation, which has its own emblem – a circle of arrows that symbolizes “the common experience” of their journeys – will compete in 12 sports, from judo to athletics, including swimming, taekwondo, canoeing, wrestling and shooting.

Historical participation in Paris:

“For the first time” since the creation of the refugee Olympic team, before the Rio 2016 Games, “one of the team members qualified on his merits,” without receiving an invitation, Ali Zada ​​stressed in a meeting with the press.

This is the boxer Cindy Ngamba, a Cameroonian refugee in the United Kingdom – due to the criminal repression of homosexuality in her country of birth – who will be the main medal option for the refugee team. She is a triple English champion in three different weight classes and is rated at -75kg.

Those selected will participate in a pre-Games rally in Bayeux (northwest France), as was done in Doha before the Tokyo edition in 2021.

The IOC created the Olympic refugee team in 2015, a year marked by the displacement of millions of people, many of them due to the war in Syria. In Rio 2016 there were ten athletes in three disciplines and 29 in Tokyo, in 12 sports.