Refugee Team for Paris Games Has 36 Athletes in 12 Sports

They will compete under their own banner
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 5, 2024 9:30 AM CDT
Refugee Team for Paris Games Has 36 Athletes in 12 Sports
Iranian wrestler Iman Mahdavi, 28, a member of the refugee team for the Paris Olympics, poses at the Lotta Club Seggiano gym in Pioltello, near Milan, Italy.   (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

The Refugee Team for the Paris Olympics will feature 36 athletes from 11 countries in 12 sports. Instead of competing under a national banner, the refugees have their own emblem featuring a heart at its center, surrounded by arrows symbolizing how lost refugees can find their way back, per the AP. The team will be known under the acronym EOR from the French name Équipe Olympique des Réfugiés. The refugee team was created by the International Olympic Committee for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro to allow athletes to keep competing, even if they have been forced to leave their home countries.

"Having our own emblem creates a sense of belonging, and empowers us to also stand for the population of more than 100 million people who share this same experience," said team leader Masomah Ali Zada of Afghanistan, who competed in women's cycling at the Tokyo Games. "I cannot wait to wear it proudly."

A total of 23 men and 13 women will compete in athletics, badminton, boxing, breaking, canoeing, cycling, judo, shooting, swimming, taekwondo, weightlifting, and wrestling at the Games starting on July 24. British-Cameroon boxer Cindy Ngamba and Ethiopian runner Farida Abaroge are among the women. Kasra Mehdipournejad, an Iranian taekwondo athlete living in Germany, and shooter Edilio Francisco Centeno Nieves from Venezuela are among the men.

(More 2024 Paris Olympics stories.)

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