Why should you watch the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro? Forget Usain, the mesmerising gymnastics routines and the glittering ceremonies, this Olympics, it’s all about the newest team to participate in the games. No, it’s not a brand new country you’ve never heard of before – it’s the first-ever Refugee Olympic Team. Assembled by the International Olympic Committee, the ten-strong team is composed entirely of athletes who are also refugees. And of course, for them – it’s about much, much more than winning medals.
Six men and four women – from South Sudan, Syria, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo – who have also only had nine months to prepare for Rio 2016. From South Sudan come Anjelina Nada Lohalith and Rose Nathike Lokonyen – participants in the 1,500m and 800m respectively. Then there’s Congolese Yolande Bukasa Mabika who will be hoping to triumph in the judo. And not forgetting 18-year-old Yusra Mardini who fled Syria and almost perished in the Mediterranean on a dinghy taking her and her family from Turkey to Greece.
Ten remarkable journeys – and a symbol of hope for refugees everywhere. We’ll be cheering for them – the true heroes of Rio 2016.