The International Olympic Committee (IOC) chief Thomas Bach on 26 October 2015 announced that all the highly qualified athletes who are refugees will be allowed to compete in the Olympic Games. This is for the first time that refugee athletes will be competing in any Olympic Games.
As per the announcement, all the eligible athletes will be able to compete for the 2016 Summer Olympics and Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The announcement was made during the UN General Assembly (UNGA) meeting which adopted a resolution urging all countries to stop fighting and observe a truce during the 2016 Summer Olympics. Bach also appealed to all 193 UN member states to help the IOC identify talented refugee athletes.
IOC has created a 2 million US dollars fund to bring hope through sport to refugees. Having no national anthem to play for them, these refugee athletes will be welcomed to the Olympic Games with the IOC flag and the IOC anthem.
While participating in the 2016 Olympics, refugee athletes will stay in the Olympic Village alongside the other 11000 athletes from 206 national Olympic committees. Until now, qualified refugee athletes were not able to participate because they couldn't represent their home country and its national Olympic committee.
Currently, there are about 20 million refugees in the world - and the number is growing. Earlier in October 2015, more than 500000 refugees and economic migrants have entered Europe and thousands more are following in their footsteps.
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What: Allowed by IOC
When: 26 October 2015