Refugee Team will take part in V Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games for the first time in the history

5 September 2017

Refugee Team will take part in the Asian Games for the first time in the history. It will be headed by Tegla Lurup, Olympic champion of Kenya, who is also the Ambassador for the UN project “Sport and Peace”.

In the spirit of Olympic solidarity, united under the peacekeeping banner of sport, the Refugee Team will be one of the 65 participating delegations of the largest International competitions in the history of the Central Asia in various sports disciplines.

The decision to include the Refugee Team into the field of “Ashgabat 2017” Games was made after their participation at the “Rio 2016” Olympic Games. The athletes, forced to leave their country due to extraordinary circumstances, were met with universal approval and support.

Sports coordinator of refugees at the UN Refugee Agency Claude Marshall noted that at the beginning of the year, the Executive Committee for the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games approached the Agency with a proposal for participation of the Refugee Team in the “Ashgabat 2017” Games.

“Refugees are the likes of us: they don’t differ from us and can compete on an equal basis with other athletes. The only difference is the horror which they had to pass through, being refugees,” Marshall said, whose mission is to provide sports training for refugees.

For the first time in the Olympic Games’ history, Refugee Team took part in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. President of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach designated this decision as “historical” one.

The idea to engage in the Olympic Games athletes who lost their Motherland by force of circumstances, was announced by Thomas Bach in 2015, when he was affected by the distressful situation of a large number of refugees, migrated to Europe. And then members of the International Olympic Committee accepted that one “historical” decision in order to attract an attention of the world community to this problem. They declared, “It will be a message of hope for refugees of entire world.”

And now the Refugee Team, whose anthem will be the anthem of the Olympic Council of Asia, will participate in the largest competitions of the Asian part of the continent – “Ashgabat 2017” Games.