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Refugee athlete Yonas Kinde selected to run Tokyo Marathon

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Refugee athlete Yonas Kinde selected to run Tokyo Marathon - Sports Leo

A refugee athlete has been selected as an elite runner for the Tokyo Marathon for the first time in the event’s history.

The UN Refugee Agency said Yonas Kinde, who lives in Luxembourg, would take part in the marathon on Sunday.

Yonas participated at the Olympic Games Rio 2016 as a member of the first-ever Refugee Olympic Team created by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

He continues his training as an IOC Refugee Athlete Scholarship Holder and would compete as part of his efforts to secure selection in the IOC Refugee Olympic Team Tokyo 2020.

He comes from Ethiopia, the country of the famous “barefoot runner” Abebe Bikila. Abebe is known for winning gold medals in the marathon at two consecutive Olympic Games, including the Olympic Games Tokyo 1964.

For Yonas, it has been a dream to run in Tokyo, as he deeply admires Abebe – an Ethiopian hero.

“Growing up, Abebe was an inspiration to me and I am delighted to be able to run in Tokyo, where he achieved so much.

“Through my participation, I hope to send the message that, if supported, refugees can unlock great potential,”  he said in a statement.

Those who participate in the elite category are runners who meet specific requirements set by the Japan Association of Athletics Federations (JAAF).

Yonas received the elite runner status following an initiative of Japan for UNHCR, the national fundraising partner of the UN Refugee Agency in the country. His personal marathon record is 2:17’12.

In partnership with ANA and Sports Leo

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