IOC to invite refugee athletes to Olympics

New York, Oct 27 (IANS) The best refugee athletes will be invited to participate in the Rio Olympics in 2016 even if they don’t have a home country to represent.

International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach made the announcement on Monday at the UN General Assembly, Xinhua reported.

“Having no national team to belong to, having no flag to march behind, national anthem to play for them, these refugee athletes will be welcomed to the Olympic Games with the IOC flag and the IOC anthem,” said Bach.

“They will have a home together with all the other 11,000 athletes from 206 national Olympic committees in the Olympic Village. This will be a symbol of hope for all the refugees in the world, and it will make the world better aware of the magnitude of this crisis.”

Bach also said that athletes from the world’s newest country, South Sudan, would participate for the first time in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games — to be held from August 5 to 21 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil — adding that the IOC hopes this will send a signal of hope to a young nation and its people.

The UN General Assembly passed a resolution on Monday urging all countries and regions to observe the Olympic truce — ceasing all conflicts between countries and regions participating in the Games from seven days before the Olympics start until seven days after they finish.

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