Refugee team to take part at Tokyo 2020 Olympics: IOC


BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Refugees will be able to take part at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics after the International Olympic Committee said on Tuesday it would form a refugee team for the second consecutive summer Games.

Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), gestures as he speaks the 133rd IOC session in Buenos Aires, Argentina October 9, 2018. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci

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.

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

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 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.

Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Toby Davis

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