The International Olympic Committee recently announced its first Refugee Olympic Team, which will compete at the Rio Games in August.
The 10 refugee athletes – five from South Sudan, two from Syria, two from the Democratic Republic of Congo and one from Ethiopia – are being described as some of the most inspiring athletes going to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
James Nyang Chiengjiek is from South Sudan and he will compete in the men’s 800-meters race in Rio. He says he fled from war in his country.
“My Dad was killed in the war,” says Chiengjiek. “So I was living with my Mum. So the soldiers were looking for people who can join the army and even if you are 10-years-old they can recruit you to join them. So I saw that I am not ready to join them, so it is better that I look for somewhere else to go to, so I ran away.”
Chiengjiek ended up at Kakuma Refugee Camp in northwestern Kenya, where he says he discovered his love of running.
James Nyang Chiengjiek and the nine other refugee athletes will march at the opening ceremony for the Olympics on August 5th at the Maracana Stadium in Rio.
The Olympic flag will lead the Refugee Olympic Team and the Olympic anthem will be played in their honor.
In a symbolic sense, they will be marching for all refugees.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, says their participation in the Olympics is a tribute to the courage and perseverance of all refugees in overcoming adversity and building a better future for themselves and their families.