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Twenty-nine athletes competing across 12 sports and from 13 host National Olympic Committees (NOCs) will be part of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Refugee Olympic Team (EOR)* Tokyo 2020, which will take place in July 2021. They will send a powerful message of inclusion, resilience and hope to the world this summer, bringing further awareness to the situation of over 80 million displaced people worldwide. The team will compete under the Olympic flag. The IOC Refugee Olympic Team, like all teams at the Olympic Games, will count on an entourage to meet all the required technical needs of the athletes, with Olympian and former marathon world record-holder Tegla Loroupe as the team's Chef de Mission, while Stephen Pattinson from UNHCR and Olivier Niamkey from the IOC will be the Deputy Chefs de Mission. The full delegation will meet for the first time as a team in Qatar at the Aspire Academy in Doha, on 12 and 13 July, for their Welcome Experience, before flying to Japan on 14 July.
UNHCR High Commissioner Filippo Grandi congratulated the athletes, highlighting that this event shows what is possible when refugees are given the opportunity to make the most of their potential.
The selection was based on each athlete's sporting performance and their refugee status as confirmed by the UNHCR, along with personal background and a balanced representativity in terms of sport, gender and regions.
The first-ever IOC Refugee Olympic Team competed at the Olympic Games Rio 2016, where the team of 10 athletes captured the attention of the world through their inspirational journeys and performances. The Olympic Games in Rio 2016 also promoted the creation of the Olympic Refuge Foundation (ORF) in September 2017, which supports the empowerment of young displaced people around the world through sport.
The Olympic Scholarship for Refugee Athletes programme provided the athletes with the financial support that enabled them to train for the Games while continuing their sporting career, and the IOC will continue to help refugee athletes also after the Games through various programmes, including support for athlete career transition.
*The IOC Refugee Olympic Team will compete in Tokyo under the French acronym EOR, which stands for Equipe Olympique des Réfugiés.