Celebrating the 29 refugee athletes competing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi sent today a personal message of hope and support to the IOC Refugee Olympic Team, said in UNHCR’s press release.
In his message shared on social media as the opening ceremony began, Grandi reflected on the remarkable personal determination and perseverance of the refugee athletes in an unprecedented year and wished them every success.
Grandi is in Tokyo this week to meet and show support for the members of the IOC Refugee Olympic Team.
“It was my joy and privilege to meet some of the 29 athletes of the IOC Refugee Olympic Team this week and share with them some encouragement on behalf of UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.
These inspiring young people have overcome immense challenge, forced displacement and significant setbacks to embody the hope and aspirations of the world’s more than 82 million forcibly displaced people on the Olympic stage. I will be cheering for them as they compete in their chosen sports and hope they can make it all the way to the podium,” said Grandi.
The Tokyo 2020 IOC Refugee Olympic Team includes refugee athletes competing in 12 Olympic disciplines. Together, they send a powerful message of solidarity and hope to the world and draw attention to the plight of all those who have been uprooted by war and persecution.
This is the second time a Refugee Team is participating in the Olympic Games, following the first appearance at the Rio Olympic Games in 2016.
As part of its more than 25-year partnership with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), UNHCR works with the IOC and the Olympic Refuge Foundation (ORF) to harness the power of sport to help create a world where every person forced to flee can build a better future.