Kenya's Loroupe to lead another refugee team to Asian Games

Source: Xinhua| 2017-09-12 19:26:51|Editor: Yurou
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By John Kwoba

NAIROBI, Sept. 12 (Xinhua) -- Olympian Tegla Loroupe of Kenya believes the positive attention refugee athletes are receiving is helping them accept their status and live harmonious with the rest of the society.

The refugees most from Kakuma Refugee camp in Lodwar (Kenya) will be having their second shot on a global stage after their famous performance at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

"We should all be concerned and strive to give hope and leave a long-lasting impact to the lives of men, women and children who need our help," said Loroupe on Tuesday in Nairobi where she is preparing another team of five athletes, who have been invited to take part in the Asian Indoor Games in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan from Sept. 17-27.

The team is comprised of Paulo Amotun Lokoro (1,500m), Wiyual Puok Deng (400m), Gai Yang Tap (800m), Ukuk Uthoo Bul (3,000m), and Yiech Pur Biel (800m) and they will be led by Chef de Mission Loroupe.

"I'm especially looking forward to engaging with young athletes in Ashgabat, and to talk with women there about what sports can do for women. It is very important to me. The refugee team delegation wants to thank the government of Turkmenistan for this special invitation," said Loroupe.

The team is currently training in Ngong, Kenya ahead of the championships.

In Rio Olympics, five of the 10 athletes that were selected to compete - Yiech Pur Biel, James Nyang Chiengjiek, Anjelina Nada Lohalith, Rose Nathike Lokonyen and Paulo Amotun Lokoro - were discovered at the Kakuma refugee camp.

It will be the second chance for Lokoro and Biel to make the refugee team. "We are ambassadors for the other refugees," said 800m runner Biel. "We are not bad people. It's only a name to be a refugee."

The refugee athletes' team will be part of the 65 countries participating in the biggest ever multi-sport event to be staged in Central Asia.

The organizing committee chairman Dayanch Gulgeldiyev said in a statement that it was decided to have a refugee team after seeing their inclusion at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

"We saw what a positive affect the Refugee Olympic Team had at Rio 2016," he said in the release.

The refugee team that participated at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro was said to be "historic" by IOC president Thomas Bach. The idea came about in 2015 when Bach was touched by the number of refugees fleeing into Europe.

The IOC made the decision as it wanted to draw the attention of the world to the plight of refugees so "it can send a symbol of hope for all refugees in the world".