Refugee Olympic Team weightlifter Cyrille Tchatchet II has spoken about his incredible journey from depression and homelessness to carrying the flag at theTokyo 2020 Olympic Opening Ceromony.
The 25-year-old, who moved to the United Kingdom in 2014 after participating in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, obtained refugee status in 2016. He is the only UK-based athlete representing the Olympic Refugee team.
During his initial period in the country Tchatchet spent time sleeping rough on the streets of both Glasgow and Brighton, becoming increasingly depressed due to his situation.
Tokyo 2020
'What a lift!' - GB's Campbell makes history winning weightlifting silver
02/08/2021 AT 15:47

Tokyo Today: Interview of Cyrille Tchatchet II from Refugee Olympic Team

Image credit: Eurosport

Reflecting on this period of his life during an interview with Eurosport, Tchatchet said: “It’s been a very, very long journey.
“I came to the UK in about 2014. I was to compete at the Commonwealth Games, and I did not return to Cameroon for some reasons.
“I left the Commonwealth Games Village and I eventually applied for asylum in the UK and was granted asylum.
“It was very difficult at the beginning because after I left the Commonwealth Games Village, I experienced some periods of homelessness in both Glasgow and in the streets of Brighton, it was a very difficult experience for me.
I was 19 years old in a new city, being homeless, not having my mum or my dad there to look after me so I felt really, really low and depressed in Brighton
“I actually contemplated suicide at some points.
“Fortunately, I rang the Samaritans and I think they called the police and I was stopped; I was taken to a police station which was a place of safety to me at that point.”
Since gaining his refugee status, the weightlifter has gained a first-class degree in mental health nursing from Middlesex University and now practises as a community mental health nurse alongside training.
On the opening ceremony, he said: “It was a great experience for me, I was over the moon.
It was an honour and a privilege for me, not just to be marching with the Refugee Olympic Team but to march with the flag into the Olympic stadium.
Tchatchet, along with the Refugee Olympic Team, wish to send a message of hope to other refugees through their participation in the Olympic Games.

From homeless to the Olympic Games - Cyrille Tchatchet II tells his incredible story

He said: “The Refugee Olympic Team mainly is a team of hope, we are sending a strong message of hope to other refugees out there, for them to have the opportunity to believe and not to give up.
Today might be very difficult situations but the future might be brighter.
“A few years ago I wouldn’t have believed that I would be marching at an Olympic Games, not just marching but competing at the Olympic Games."
- - -
Watch every unmissable moment live from Tokyo 2020 across Eurosport, Eurosport app and Download the Eurosport app for iOS and Android now.
Tokyo 2020
'You don’t have to sacrifice your femininity to be a weightlifter' - British Olympic star Campbell
02/08/2021 AT 14:43
Tokyo 2020
Campbell makes British weightlifting history with silver as Hubbard misses out
02/08/2021 AT 12:55