Each Olympics I am eagerly waiting to see the flag and our national team walk down the opening ceremony lane.

However this year there’s a new “nation” joining the parade. The refugee nation. 

The Foundation uses sports as a tool to bring people together, and for socio economic development. Sport empowers girls, women and youth. It teaches values of equity, prepares women for leadership as well as promote both physical and psychological health. ~ Tegla Loroupe Foundation

Refugee Olympic Team (ROT), the team of 10 athletes with no country, no home and no national Olympic assosiaction to support them, has been established by International Olympic Committee (IOC) with intentions to shed spotlight on the growing refugee crisis.

“These refugees have no home, no team, no flag, no national anthem. We will offer them a home in the Olympic Village together with all the athletes of the word. The Olympic anthem will be played in their honour and the Olympic flag will lead them into the Olympic Stadium. ~ IOC President Thomas Bach

The Refugee Olympic Team will walk into the Maracana Stadium ahead of the host country Brazil and compete under the official Olympic flag.

Among ten athletes, four of them are women.

Photos: Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images For IOC/ International Olympic Committee

Yusra Mardini, 18 yrs, swimming, Syria 

  • 100m freestyle


You might know her as the girl who jumped into the sea to help push the sinking boat closer to the coast. Along with her sister, Yusra arrived to Europe via the Mediterranean refugee route. Few months later she will compete in her first Olympics. Her host country is Germany.

Yolande Bukasa Mabika, 29 yrs, Judo, Democratic Republic of Congo

  • Judo (-70 kg)

Yolande Bukasa Mabika

Orientally from Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Kongo, also known as the area most affected by the civil war. During the 2013 World Judo Championships in Rio Yolande sought asylum in Brasil and currently trains in Rio.

Rose Nathike Lokonyen, 23 yrs, athletics, South Sudan

  • 800m run (athletics)

Rose Nathike Lokonyen

Rose comes from South Sudan but have been living Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya, since 2002. She is training with a help of Tegla Loroupe Foundation, an organisation started by Tegla Loroupe, a former marathoner, world champion and record holder.

Anjaline Nadai Lohalith, 21 yrs, athletics, South Sudan

  • 1500m run (athletics)

Anjaline Nadai Lohalith

Same as Rose, Anjaline arrived in Kakuma in 2002, also from South Sudan, and has been training with Tegla Loroupe Foundation since 2015.

Chef de Mission of the Refugee Olympic Team is Tegla Loroupe.

Source and more info: olympic.org

Men on the team:

  • Rami Anis (M): Country of origin – Syria; host NOC – Belgium; sport – swimming
  • Yiech Pur Biel (M): Country of origin – South Sudan; host NOC – Kenya; sport – athletics, 800m
  • James Nyang Chiengjiek (M): Country of origin – South Sudan; host NOC – Kenya; sport – athletics, 400m
  • Yonas Kinde (M): Country of origin – Ethiopia; host NOC – Luxembourg; sport – athletics, marathon
  • Paulo Amotun Lokoro (M): Country of origin – South Sudan; host NOC – Kenya; sport – athletics, 1500m
  • Popole Misenga (M): Country of origin – Democratic Republic of the Congo; host NOC – Brazil; sport – judo, -90kg