The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced there will be a Olympic team made up of refugees at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, as happened in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
“Last time (in the 2016 Rio Olympics) we were under very high time pressure. Now we have two years. We have already taken precaution… and we have a pool of athletes in place. Already now we’re supporting 51 or 52 refugee athletes who we have identified. This pool can still grow in the run-up to Tokyo 2020,” IOC president Thomas Bach of Germany said at the close of the 133rd IOC Session, which ended on Tuesday in Buenos Aires, Efe news reported.
The IOC said in a statement that with the creation of this refugee team, the committee seeks to convey a message of solidarity and hope to millions of refugee and internally displaced athletes around the world.
“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,” Bach said, adding: “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.”
In the 2016 Rio Olympics, the team comprised ten refugee athletes from Ethiopia, South Sudan, Syria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The 32nd Summer Olympic Games will take place from July 24 to August 9 in Tokyo.
Tokyo will hold this international sports event for the second time after the 1964 Olympic Games.