Tokyo Games: Tegla Lourupe and Domongole tasked to lead Olympic Refugee Team

Tegla Loroupe [AFP]

Five-time world half marathon champion Tegla Lourupe and Joseph Domongole have been tasked to lead the Olympic Refugee Team at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

The games will kick off on July 23.

Lourupe will serve as the Team’s Chief de Mission for the second year running, while Domongole has been appointed as one of the coaches.

Lourupe led the Refugee team in the last Olympic in Rio and the two-time New York Marathon winner has once again been bestowed with the responsibility of leading a team of 29 refugee athletes set to participate in the Tokyo 2020 Games.

Out of the 29, four athletes are hosted and train at the Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation Training Centre in Ngong.

The quartet includes Rose Nathike Lokonyen (800m), James Nyang Chiengjiek (880m), Angelina Nadai Lohalith (1500m) and Paulo Amotun Lokorio (1500m).

“It is an incredible honour to have a Kenyan once again lead the special team that will be competing under the IOC flag to Tokyo Games and we wish them the very best as they carry the warmth and hospitality of Kenya with them,” said NOCK president Paul Tergat of Lourepe’s appointment.

Tergat is also a Member of the IOC Refugee Olympic Foundation Board.

The 29 athletes, drawn from 13 host National Olympic Committees (NOCs), will compete across 12 sports disciplines among them athletics, boxing, badminton, Canoe, cycling, Karate, shooting, wrestling and Judo.

Also named in the team is Yusra Mardini (swimmer), Popole Misenga (judoka) and, runners- James Nyang Chiengjiek (800m), Angelina Nadail Lohalith (1500m), Paulo Amolin Lokoro (1500m) and Rose Nathike Likonyen (800m), all who took part in the Games in Rio 2016.

The athletes, who will be competing under the Olympic flag, were selected from the IOC’s Olympic Scholarships for Refugee Athletes’ Programme.

The programme considers individual athlete’s sporting performance; refugee status according to UNHCR guidelines; personal background and a balanced representation of sport and gender as well as a consideration of region.

Noting that the world, with its 7 billion people are all seeking refuge from the coronavirus pandemic, thanks to the global covid-19 pandemic, the athletics icon and Chef de Mission said: “we are all wearing the same thing regardless of our status in society (in reference to the applicable covid-19 protocols) and that the pandemic has turned all the population into refugees as they battle the global scourge”.

The Olympic Refugee Team is the first official squad to be named in the Tokyo Olympics.

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