Olympics news - Refugee team to take part at Tokyo 2020

Refugee team to take part at Tokyo 2020 Olympics
By Eurosport

09/10/2018 at 22:39Updated 09/10/2018 at 22:43

Refugees will be able to take part at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics after the International Olympic Committee said it would form a refugee team for the second consecutive summer Games.

IOC President Thomas Bach asked members of the Olympic body at its session in Buenos Aires whether they supported the creation of a refugee team, along the lines of the one that competed at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games. The members responded with applause.

"So you have created the refugee Olympic team, Tokyo 2020," Bach said.

"In an ideal world, we would not need to have a refugee team at the Olympic Games. But, unfortunately, the reasons why we first created a refugee Olympic team before the Olympic Games Rio 2016 continue to persist.

"We will do our utmost to welcome refugee athletes and give them a home and a flag in the Olympic village in Tokyo with all the Olympic athletes from 206 National Olympic Committees."

The IOC unveiled its first team of refugees in an effort to raise awareness of the issue and it was one of the feel-good stories of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

The 10-member team from Syria, Congo, Ethiopia and South Sudan hogged the spotlight after marching as the penultimate team before host nation Brazil in the Opening Ceremony at the Olympic stadium.

The athletes took part in athletics, swimming and judo.

The IOC has continued supporting these athletes, some of whom attended the IOC session in the Argentine capital.

It had said last year it was considering forming such a team again for the Tokyo Games and has continued to support the athletes who took part in Rio.

"I am delighted that this tradition is to continue in Tokyo," said United Nations High Commissioner for refugees Filippo Grandi in a statement. "Giving these exceptional young people the opportunity to compete at the very highest levels is admirable."

Reporting via Reuters