Team Refugees

Symbol of Hope’: Refugee Team to Make History at Rio 2016 Olympics

Ten refugee athletes from Africa and the Middle East are to compete under the Olympic flag at the Rio de Janeiro Games this year.

Yusra Mardini, originally from Syria, trains in Germany. She will compete in swimming.

Mardini and her sister, Sarah, were on a flimsy inflatable boat with other refugees making the perilous trip from Turkey to Greece when the dinghy started taking on water. While most of the refugees couldn't swim, the Mardini sisters jumped into the water and helped guide the boat to the Greek island of Lesbos.

Claire Thomas / IOC

Rami Anis, originally from Syria, trains in Belgium. He will compete in swimming.


Paul Amotun Lokoro, originally from South Sudan, trains in Kenya. He will compete in men’s 1500m.

Claire Thomas / IOC

Yonas Kinde, originally from Ethiopia, trains in Luxembourg. He will compete in marathon.

Claire Thomas / IOC

Yolande Mabika, left, and Popole Misenga, right, both originally from Democratic Republic of the Congo, train in Brazil. Both of them will compete in judo.

Douglas Engle / IOC

Anjelina Nadai Lohalith, originally from South Sudan, trains in Kenya. Lohalith will compete in 1500m.

Claire Thomas / IOC

Rose Nathike Lokonyen, originally from South Sudan, trains in Kenya. Lokonyen will compete in 800m.

Claire Thomas / IOC

James Nyang Chiengjiek, originally from South Sudan, trains in Kenya. Chiengjiek will compete in 400m.

The South Sudanese runners had been staying at the sprawling Kakuma refugee camp in northwestern Kenya when they were selected as potential Olympic athletes. They were then taken to a training camp near Nairobi run by Loroupe.

Claire Thomas / IOC

Yiech Pur Biel, originally from South Sudan, trains in Kenya. Biel will compete in 800m.

"We're convinced this refugee Olympic team can send a symbol of hope to all refugees in the world," IOC President Thomas Bach said at the close of a three-day IOC executive board meeting in Lausanne.

Claire Thomas / IOC