Refugee team eyes World C'ships after World Relay and marathon shows

Source: Xinhua| 2019-05-14 23:53:26|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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NAIROBI, May 14 (Xinhua) -- Domnic Lokinyomo Lobalu and Pur Biel returned to Nairobi after winning the Harmony Geneva Marathon for UNICEF 10km on Saturday and now target a slot in the refugee team for the World Championships.

The two together with refugee athletes Simon Ayong and Paulo Amotun Lokoro hope to compete in the 5,000m and 10,000m race at the global track and field competition, which will be held in Doha, Qatar from Sept. 28 to Oct. 6.

"It was a tough race," Lokonyen, 24, said. "But with better training we will compete better next time. This one is a big challenge, it's a new event and sometimes you need a lot of work to learn how to run it. Now we hope to make the team to World Championship."

Lobalu, 20, won by more than a minute in 29:14 ahead of Biel, a 2016 Olympian in the 800m, who clocked 30:32.

Four of the first five finishers were members of the Athlete Refugee Team who train at the Tegla Loroupe Training Camp For Refugee Athletes in Nairobi, Kenya.

"I am going back to even more intense training to prepare for the World Championships," said Lobalu in Nairobi.

Lobalu is now targeting a spot on the Athlete Refugee Team for October's World Championships in Doha in the 10,000m where selection will be based on performances set in this year's competitions.

Founded in 2015, the Tegla Loroupe Training Camp For Refugee Athletes is supported by the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), International Olympic Committee (IOC), the IAAF and other organizations.

Other members of the Refugee team Rose Nathike Lokonyen and James Chiengjiek, both 2016 Olympians, competed in the mixed 2x2x400m relay at the World Relay Championships in Yokohama, Japan in an event making its World Relays debut.

They pair finished seventh in the eight-team field, clocking 4:08.80.

"With better training we'll compete better next time. Sports mean everything to me and it has given me hope to represent Refugee all over the world. We will try harder next time. We are proud to have been given the chance," Lokonyen said.

"The Olympics in Rio opened the door for us to show the world that we too are human beings and compete at higher level," he added.