Five middle-distance runners from South Sudan, until recently living in Kenya’s Kakuma refugee camp, to take part in first-ever Refugee Olympic Team.
Amid tears of joy, farewell hugs and songs of encouragement a group of smiling young refugee African athletes flew out of Nairobi today bound for the Rio Olympics in Brazil and an appointment with history.
Five middle-distance runners from South Sudan, until recently living in Kakuma refugee camp, in Kenya’s inhospitable far north, were given a rousing send-off from friends, fellow refugees and Kenyan well-wishers. The five will join five others from Syria, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Ethiopia to make history by taking part in the first-ever Refugee Olympic Team.
“I feel very excited. This is the first chance for the refugees to participate in the Olympics and to give us hope, for us to encourage the young generations of fellow refugees who are remaining in the camps maybe to continue their talent,” Rose Nathike Lokonyen, 23, told UNHCR in an interview prior to departure.