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Eight refugee athletes to benefit from Olympic solidarity fund

NOCK Secretary general Francis Mutuku
  • NOCK will host all the athletes in the country
  • Athletes will be paid USD1500 to contribute to the costs of training and participation in high-level and Olympic qualification competitions.
  • Olympic Solidarity supports the program through its Refugee Athlete Support Program

The National Olympic Committee has unveiled eight athletes who’ll benefit from the Refugee Olympic Program to be run from January 2023 towards preparing and participating at the Paris 2024 Olympics.

The Refugee Olympic athletes’ program was started in 2015, following the global refugee crisis to aid potential elite athletes affected by the crisis, announced by IOC President Thomas Bach at the UN General Assembly.

With its first participation at the Olympic Games Rio 2016 (10 athletes) and Tokyo 2020 had 52 athletes in the program from 20 host countries in 11 sports.

The main objective of the program is to send a message of hope and inclusion to millions of refugees around the world and inspire the world with the strength of their human spirit.

Since 2015, Tegla Loroupe Foundation has been managing and supporting refugee athletes through training the Refugee Olympic Athletes at the TLPF centre in Ngong, in the outskirts of Nairobi City.

In 2012 athletes were in the program of Tokyo 2020.

However, the program is managed worldwide by the National Olympic Committee of the respective country ‘Host NOC’, and therefore in the quadrennial leading to Paris 2024, the management of the program will be under the National Olympic Committee of Kenya.

The program is funded through the Olympic Solidarity and thus NOC-K will collaborate with the concerned institutions for the continuity of the program.

NOC-K will be responsible for;

  • Hosting NOC for all refugee athletes in the country
  • Technical and financial reporting & monitoring
  • Reporting to Olympic Solidarity
  • Integrate the refugee athletes in national programs/training camps/competitions
  • Give the athletes access to competition – locally and internationally

This follows after a one-week visit to Kenya by Olympic Solidarity Deputy Director Pamela Vipond in the first week of December where trials were held to select a team which will receive the sponsorship. On the sidelines, meetings were held between NOC-K, TLPF and UNHCR who are partners.

Speaking during the unveiling after meeting with the athletes, NOC-K President Dr. Paul Tergat who was accompanied by Secretary General Francis Mutuku and Executive Member Barnaba Korir spoke of the great responsibility, achievement and impact by Tegla towards the refugee movement.

“The first batch of the Olympic Refugee Athletes competed during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and, our own, Dr. Tegla Loroupe was the Chef de Mission of the Team.

This great honour saw her given responsibility to host and train Refugee athletes from various countries in Africa here in Kenya. We are very proud of the work and achievements that Tegla, through her Foundation, has done in giving opportunities to these athletes to realize their athletic potential at the top level.” He spoke.

The President also congratulated the athletes and urged them to make the best out of the opportunity to qualify and participate in the Games.

“This means we shall be cheering double at the Olympics, for Team Kenya and the Refugee Olympic Program.”

The next step will include Scholarships Athletes to be placed in camps in beginning January 2023 while None-Scholarship athletes will be placed in education programs – organized by UNHCR.

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