Team of Refugees to Compete at 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio

Judoka Raheleh Asemani (right) is among the athletes bidding to compete for the team of refugees in Rio (PHOTO CREDIT: Antony Dickson / AFP / Getty Images)
Judoka Raheleh Asemani (right) is among the athletes bidding to compete for the team of refugees in Rio (PHOTO CREDIT: Antony Dickson / AFP / Getty Images)

A team made up exclusively of refugees is set to compete under the Olympic flag at this summer’s Games in Rio de Janeiro.

A shortlist of 43 sportsmen and women has been compiled, with the International Olympic Committee saying as many as 10 would get the go-ahead to take part at the Olympics.

Among those in contention is 17-year-old swimmer Yusra Mardini, who fled from Syria on an inflatable boat headed to the Greek Island of Lesbos from Turkey.

When the boat started taking on water, Mardini and her sister Sarah got in the water and swum the vessel and the 20 people on board to safety.

Mardini, who now lives in Germany with her family, has since been one of a number of refugee athletes to receive funding from a $2 million IOC scholarship fund specifically aimed at aiding refugees.

The team in Rio will be known as the Team of Refugee Olympic Athletes (ROA), IOC president Thomas Bach announced this week, and will be the penultimate team into the Olympic Stadium before hosts Brazil.

“We have all been touched by the magnitude of this refugee crisis,” Bach told reporters after a two-day IOC executive board meeting in Lausanne.

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SOURCE: CNN, Matt Majendie