‘Rio Olympics 2016’ News: Refugee Olympic Team, First Time in OlympicsBy Shunie Pearl C. Dela Cruz, UniversityHerald Reporter
Rio Olympics 2016 has made a history when a Refugee Olympic Team introduced 10 talented athletes from different nations during the Parade of Nations in the opening of the Summer Games. However, these athletes who once doubt their capabilities have encountered violence that made them fled from the comfort of their zones.
The participation of 10 talented athletes is a tribute to the courage and perseverance of all refugees around the world. These talented young athletes are victims of terrorism and crime from their respective countries and most of them are living in refugee camps since birth. Refugees are often discriminated for the inability of their government to provide assylum. As reported by the website Vox, countries like Germany and Belgium once linked millions of refugees to crime and terrorism. It was the media star Mardini, a Syrian refugee Olympian, who changed the perception that led to their welcome in the two countries.
The ten athletes made an entrance in the opening of the Summer Games through waiving the Olympic flag as a sign of unity since they came from different nations. These young athletes once dreamed to enter the world's most prestigious competition and now they have finally reached it, they don't want to wake up. The 23-year old Sudanese runner Rose Nathike Lokonyen told UNHCR in an interview that she is very excited and she hoped to encourage her fellow refugees in the camp to pursue their dream and continue their talent.
The participation of the refugees in the Summer Games is an action towards ending discrimination among them. Refugee is supposed to be a term to be used temporarily, however, due to global circumstances, it becomes permanent and worse, it could be the only label they will have from womb to tomb.
The increasing number of refugees is an indication of the international community's failure. There were about 11 million of global refugees from when the 2012 Olympics took place in London and it increased about three-quarters for the past four years.