Rio Olympics refugee team wins Laureus award

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The Olympics refugee team that participated in the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro has been awarded a Laureus Award for sporting inspiration.

The team that comprised of 10 athletes from various countries competed at the Rio Games as an independent entity.

“This award is for the 65.4 million displaced people globally, who cannot go to their homes because of strife,” Kenyan distance runner Tegla Loroupe, the team’s chef de mission, told a news conference in Monaco.

“Each of the 10 inspirational people in our team have triumphed over adversity and endured unimaginable journeys to get to the start line,” she added.

The team comprised of refugees from South Sudan, Congo, Ethiopia and Syria.

They took part in athletics, swimming and judo.

One of those attending Monday’s news conference was Syrian swimmer Rami Anis, who made the hazardous sea crossing from Turkey to Greece after fleeing his home town of Aleppo and ended up in Belgium.

“Sport gives everyone a chance, and what happened at the Rio Olympics showed people around the world who have trouble and fear in their lives that there is hope,” he said in a Laureus statement.

The International Olympic Committee has yet to decide whether to send another refugee team to Tokyo in 2020.

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