Refugees living in Kenya camps to get chance to compete at Rio Olympics
03 February 2016, 22:26
Nairobi - Refugees living in Kenya will
have a chance to compete at the Olympics under the International Olympic
Committee (IOC) flag if they attain the recommended qualifying times.
Kenya, which is home to more than 600 refugees, has selected
about 16 of the best for special training camp in Nairobi (Ngong) and the best
three will be allowed to travel to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the summer games
IOC in October last year decided to welcome refugee athletes
to the 2016 Olympics where they will live in the Olympic Village alongside the
other 11,000 athletes from 206 national Olympic committees. They will compete
under the IOC flag.
IOC officials led by deputy director general Pere Miro
toured Kenya's Kakuma camp in Turkana and assured the athletes they will get
their chance to compete in the games.
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"The slots are very competitive. Like all the other
youths, they will have their chance and the best will be in Rio. We must try to
have a level ground for all youths to compete for the Olympics irrespective of
their status. We will pick equal number of men and women athletes to
participate in the games," Keino said on Tuesday in Nairobi.
The refugees have in the past not participated in the
international championships after being displaced from their home countries.
Kakuma in Turkana is one of world's biggest refugee shelters
and is home to 185,650 refugees from 20 different Africa nations most from
South Sudan and Somalia.
The United Nations said there are about 20 million refugees
in the world, and the number is growing.
IOC President Thomas Bach said in a statement back in
October that the IOC has created a US$2 million fund "to bring hope
through sport to refugees".