Neha Patil (Editor)

Refugee Olympic Team at the 2016 Summer Olympics

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IOC code  ROT
0  0
Competitors  10 in 3 sports
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Refugee Olympic Team at the 2016 Summer Olympics
Flag bearer  Rose Lokonyen (opening) Popole Misenga (closing)
Medals  Gold Silver Bronze Total 0 0 0 0

The Refugee Olympic Team competed at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 5 to 21 August 2016, as independent Olympic participants. In March 2016 the International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach declared that the IOC would choose five to ten refugees to compete at the Rio Olympics, in the context of the "worldwide refugee crisis", of which the European migrant crisis is a prominent part. The athletes compete under the Olympic Flag. Initially, they were labeled "Team of Refugee Olympic Athletes", with the IOC country code ROA, but this was updated to Refugee Olympic Team with the country code ROT.


As part of an effort "to show solidarity with the world’s refugees", the United Nations Refugee Agency selected Ibrahim Al-Hussein, a Syrian refugee residing in Athens, Greece, to carry the Olympic flame through the Eleonas refugee and migrant camp in the city as part of the 2016 torch relay.

In addition, Kuwaiti athletes competed under the Olympic flag and the "Independent Olympic Athletes" title as a result of the suspension of the Kuwait Olympic Committee, their national Olympic Committee.

Team selection and funding

The IOC identified 43 potential candidates for inclusion in the team with the final selection to take into account sporting ability, personal circumstances, and United Nations-verified refugee status. In order to pay for athlete training, a fund of US$2 million was created by the IOC. National Olympic Committees (NOCs) were then asked to identify any displaced athletes in their countries who might be able to reach Olympic standard.

An initial three athletes were identified as potential competitors for Rio; Yusra Mardini, a 17-year-old Syrian swimmer, who crossed from Turkey into Greece in an inflatable boat (swimming after its motor had stopped) before crossing Europe by train through mainland Greece, the Balkans, Hungary and Austria to eventually reach Germany where she now lives and trains; Raheleh Asemani, an Iranian taekwondo athlete training in Belgium; and judoka Popole Misenga, originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo but now living in Brazil. Mardini and Asemani have received IOC Olympic Solidarity scholarships. Asemani was later granted Belgian citizenship and has applied to compete instead for the Belgian team, with International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach saying that such permission was expected to be granted.

Additional candidates were identified: among refugees of the Syrian Civil War, cyclists Ahmad Badr Waid and Nazir Jaser and triathlete Mohamad Masoo; and in Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya, where a support program run by former marathon world record holder Tegla Loroupe identified 23 athletes.

On 3 June 2016, the IOC announced a team of ten athletes would compete as part of the refugee team at the Games. The team was led by Loroupe.


Four men and two women competed in the Games in the athletics tournament.

  • Note–Ranks given for track events are within the athlete's heat only
  • Q = Qualified for the next round
  • q = Qualified for the next round as a fastest loser or, in field events, by position without achieving the qualifying target
  • NR = National record
  • N/A = Round not applicable for the event
  • Bye = Athlete not required to compete in round
  • NM = No mark
  • Men
    Track & road events
    Track & road events


    Two judokas were selected as part of the team, one male and one female. Both Popole Misenga and Yolande Mabika are originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo but have been training in Brazil.


    Two swimmers were selected for the team, one male and one female; Rami Anis, originally from Syria but now training in Belgium and Yusra Mardini also originally from Syria but now living in Germany. An assistant coach, Khamis Agear, is also from Syria.


    Refugee Olympic Team at the 2016 Summer Olympics Wikipedia

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