EOR Olympic team: What does it stand for and how is it formed?

EOR is an acronym of the French name ‘Equipe Olympique des Refugies’

Tom Kershaw
Friday 06 August 2021 02:43
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Olympics Day 1 round-up

Twenty-nine athletes are representing the Refugee Olympic Team (EOR) in Tokyo at the Olympic Games.

In the summer of 2015, the IOC, with help from trailblazing marathon runner and peace ambassador Tegla Loroupe, established a Refugee Emergency Fund to help international aid agencies integrate refugees in sport.

The Games’ governing body also pledged to financially support a select group of refugee athletes in a scholarship programme with the aim of them competing under the Olympic banner.

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In Rio, ten athletes, who had been forced to flee countries such as South Sudan and Syria due to ongoing conflict, oppression and civil war, were selected by the IOC and were able to fulfil their dreams of competing in the Games.

The IOC’s president, Thomas Bach, hailed their participation as a message of hope to the world’s estimated 80 million displaced people.

“By welcoming the team of Refugee Olympic Athletes to the Olympic Games Rio 2016, we want to send a message of hope for all refugees in our world,” he said.

“Having no national team to belong to, having no flag to march behind, having no national anthem to be played, these refugee athletes will be welcomed to the Olympic Games with the Olympic flag and with the Olympic Anthem.

“They will have a home together with all the other 11,000 athletes from 206 National Olympic Committees in the Olympic Village.”

After the success of the team’s participation in 2016, with 18-year-old Syrian refugee Yusra Mardini winning her heat in the 100m butterfly, the IOC increased their scholarship programme to 55 athletes for the Tokyo Games, with 29 competitors ultimately selected.

They have already experienced great success in Tokyo, too, with Kimia Alizadeh Zonoozi stunning Britain’s Jade Jones in their round of 16 women’s 57kg taekwondo bout.

Alizadeh had become Iran’s first female medallist in Rio 2016 but recently fled the country after criticising the government’s oppressive treatment of women. Now residing in Germany, she joined the EOR team for the Tokyo Games.

Another representative of the EOR team is Cyrille Fagat Tchatchet II, who will compete in the men’s 96kg weightlifting competition. After fleeing Cameroon, Tchatchet was granted refugee status in the UK and worked for the NHS in hospital wards during the pandemic.

Sadly, Loroupe, who has helped train several of the athletes at her foundation in Kenya, was unable to lead the team out in Tokyo after testing positive for Covid-19 before their departure. “The athletes have a lot to share with the world,” she told The Independent earlier this year. “That resilience is something everyone can learn from them. They are strong people who fought for life. They are not just refugees, they are ambassadors.”

Who are the EOR athletes?

  • Alaa Maso - M - Freestyle 50m swimming - Syria
  • Yusra Mardini - F - Butterfly 100m swimming - Syria
  • Dorian Keletala - M - 100m athletics - Congo
  • Rose Nathinke Likonyen - F - 800m athletics - South Sudan
  • James Nyang Chiengjiek - M - 800m athletics - South Sudan
  • Anjelina Nadai Lohalith - F -1500m athletics - South Sudan
  • Paulo Amotun Lokoro - M - 1500m athletics - South Sudan
  • Jamal Abdelmaj Eisa Mohammed - M - 5000m athletics - Sudan
  • Tachlowini Gabriyesos - M - Marathon - Eritrea
  • Aram Mahmoud - M - Badminton - Syria
  • Wessam Salamana - M - Lightweight boxing - Syria
  • Eldric Sella Rodriguez - M - Middleweight boxing - Venezuela
  • Saeid Fazoula - M - Kayak (K-1) 1000m - Iran
  • Masomah Ali Zada - F - Time trial cycling - Afghanistan
  • Ahmad Badreddin Wais - M Time trial cycling - Syria
  • Sanda Aldass - F - Judo - Syria
  • Ahmad Alikaj - M - Judo - Syria
  • Muna Dahouk F - Judo - Syria
  • Javad Mahjoub - M - Judo - Iran
  • Popole Misenga - M - Judo - DR Congo
  • Nigara Shaeen - F - Judo - Afghanistan
  • Wael Shueb - M - Karate (kata) - Syria
  • Hamoon Derafshipour - M - Karate (kumite) - Iran
  • Luna Solomon - F - 10m air rifle shooting - Eritrea
  • Dina Pourounes Langeroudi - F - 49kg taekwondo - Iran
  • Kimia Alizadeh - F - 57kg taekwondo - Iran
  • Abdullah Sediqi - M - 68kg taekwondo - Afghanistan
  • Cyrille Fagat Tchatchet II - M - 96kg weightlifting - Cameroon
  • Aker Al Obaidi - M - 67kg wrestling - Iraq

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