'Refugee team' to take part in 2016 Rio Olympics

A team of up to 10 refugees could take part in the Rio Olympics, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said.

The organisation has given the plan the go ahead and has already identified 43 high-performance athletes, who are also refugees, who may possibly be eligible.

By welcoming the team of Refugee Olympic Athletes to the Olympic Games Rio 2016, we want to send a message of hope for all refugees in our world. Having no national team to belong to, having no flag to march behind, having no national anthem to be played, these refugee athletes will be welcomed to the Olympic Games with the Olympic flag and with the Olympic Anthem. They will have a home together with all the other 11,000 athletes from 206 National Olympic Committees in the Olympic Village.

IOC president Thomas Bach

He added that the team would compete under the flag of the IOC.

“I can just give you my feeling, but I believe that this team could feature between five and 10 athletes,” said Bach.

In December three refugee athletes were identified whose skills could be of a high enough standard to feature in the 2016 Olympics.

They were a Syrian swimmer based in Germany, a judoka from the Democratic Republic of Congo who was living in Brazil and an Iranian taekwondo fighter training in Belgium.