The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has released the initial list of athletes awarded Olympic Scholarships for Refugee Athletes to help train towards being selected for the IOC Refugee Olympic Team at Paris 2024.
The 44 athletes come from 12 countries and are competing in 12 sports.
Of the group, 23 athletes competed as part of the IOC Refugee Olympic Team at Rio 2016 and/or Tokyo 2020.
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The Refugee Olympic Team was made up of 10 athletes when they first competed at Rio, having been set up by the IOC to raise awareness of the global refugee crisis.
In Tokyo the team grew to 29 athletes competing in 12 sports.
The scholarships are fully funded by the IOC and provide the athletes with support to train and compete in qualification tournaments ahead of Paris 2024.
Addressing the athletes, IOC President Thomas Bach said: "We welcome you to the Olympic community and wish you luck in qualification.
“I know what a difficult period it is to go through to qualify for the Olympic Games, and so we admire how you are meeting the challenge given all the difficulties you have overcome."
The athletes come from: Afghanistan, Cameroon, Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iraq, the Islamic Republic of Iran, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Venezuela.
They are being supported by 16 host National Olympic Committees: Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Portugal, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Switzerland, Turkey, United States of America, and Uruguay.
The composition of the Refugee Olympic Team will be announced in 2024.
The scholarship announcement comes ahead of World Refugee Day on June 20.
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