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Refugee Olympic Team Preparing for the Olympic Games
Refugee Olympic Team Preparing for the Olympic Games
14 Jul 2021 15:35
IJF Media Team / International Judo Federation

Squad of 29 refugees trains in Qatar ahead of competing in 12 sports at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Full of enthusiasm, passion and excitement, the Refugee Olympic Team has been training hard in the Qatari capital of Doha in preparation for Tokyo 2020, to be held this month.

The 29-member squad, which will compete across 12 sports at Tokyo 2020, will become the second of its kind to take part in the Olympics after its debut at Rio 2016. There are six judoka in the Refugee team, each weight for the Olympic Mixed team event.

In 2016, after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board approved the team’s creation, 10 athletes were selected to take part in the 2016 Olympic Games.

All athletes who were considered had received United Nations refugee status.

A refugee, according to the UNHCR, is “someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war, or violence”.

“We are honoured to have the opportunity to make a small contribution to the inspiring journey of the Refugee Olympic Team,” Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) President Sheikh Joaan Bin Hamad Al Thani, said at Aspire Zone in Doha on Tuesday.

“The team’s performances will not just inspire billions of people but will also raise awareness about the scale of the global refugee crisis.”

However, the IOC said on Wednesday the squad has been forced to delay its departure to Japan following a positive COVID-19 case by a team official.

“As a consequence, it was decided that the team would currently not travel to Tokyo and will continue their training in Doha while being tested daily,” the IOC said in a statement.

 

Judoka Ahmad Alikaj from Refugee Olympic Team was included into the Refugee Olympic Team at the 2019 World Championships in Tokyo. On 8th June 2021 IOC President Thomas Bach, officially announced the list of 29 refugee athletes competing across 12 sports, from 13 host National Olympic Committees, who will participate in the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer as the IOC Refugee Olympic Team.

With the help of the Reacao charity in Brazil, Popole Misenga and Yolande Mabika have daily judo classes and do cross-training just like Brazilian athletes. They train with Geraldo Bernardes, who has led the Brazilian national team to four Olympics. In 2013, the two went to Brazil for the World Championships. Misenga will again compete in 2021 at the Tokyo Olympic Games in the IJF Refugee Team in U90kg.

Former Iranian judoka Javad Mahjoub took silver at the Grand Prix in Antalya in 2018. He fled to Canada. In 2016 he took the victory at the European Open in Oberwart and bronze at the Grand Prix in Düsseldorf. He took silver at the Grand Prix in Tbilisi in 2016. He won the Grand Slam in Moscow in 2013. He captured bronze at the Grand Prix The Hague in 2017. He won silver at the Grand Prix in Tunis in 2018. Mahjoub won the European Open in Prague in 2018. In total 14 World Cup medals. He will be competing at the Tokyo Olympic Games in the IJF Refugee team.

Sanda Aldass was included into the Refugee Olympic Team at the 2019 World Championships in Tokyo. On 8th June 2021 IOC President Thomas Bach, officially announced the list of 29 refugee athletes competing across 12 sports, from 13 host National Olympic Committees, who will participate in the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer as the IOC Refugee Olympic Team.Aldass represents a message of solidarity and hope to the world, bringing further awareness of the plight of over 80 million displaced people worldwide. Sanda Aldass, Ahmad Alikaj and Muna Dahouk are accompanied by their coach Fadi Darwish.

Former Syrian judoka Muna Dahouk fled to the Netherlands. She was included into the Refugee Olympic Team at the 2019 World Championships in Tokyo. On 8th June 2021 IOC President Thomas Bach, officially announced the list of 29 refugee athletes competing across 12 sports, from 13 host National Olympic Committees, who will participate in the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer as the IOC Refugee Olympic Team.Sanda Aldass, Ahmad Alikaj and Muna Dahouk are accompanied by their coach Fadi Darwish

For Nigara Shaheen, originally from Afghanistan, is now a master student in international trade in Russia. She competed at the  Grand Slam in Ekaterinburg is her second international tournament. “Previously, I participated at the 2017 Asian Games in Hongkong, but I got a shoulder injury there. This is my first return to the international scene after my injury. Currently I’m studying international trade at the university in Ekaterinburg as an exchange student. and here I can practice with the university team. In June 2021 she was announced as athlete of the IJF refugee team.