The International Olympic Committee is considering fielding a team comprised of refugees for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, IOC president Thomas Bach announced.
About 43 prospective Olympians have been identified by the IOC as candidates to compete for the Team of Refugee Olympics Athletes (ROA) and will be supplied funds to train for the Summer Games. In order to be qualified for the IOC support, the athlete must perform at an appropriate level, and have official refugee status by the United Nations.
“These athletes have no national team to belong to, they have no flag to march behind, no national anthem to be played,” Bach said. “We will welcome these refugee athletes with the Olympic flag and with the Olympic anthem.”
The final list of five to 10 athletes will be named by the International Olympic Committee executive board in June.
The team will compete under the Olympic flag and will be supplied team uniforms. Athletes will also be drug tested and expected to meet the expectations of the World Anti-Doping Agency.
The 2016 Olympics are set to begin on Aug. 5.
- Christopher Chavez