Samaranch stresses that the Refugee Olympic Team seeks values, not medals
Boxer Eldrick Sylla and Lydia Morungi, Game Connect Coordinator for Refugees talk about their experiences
The Refugee Olympic Team was not born to win medals, but rather a valuable and communication project that seeks to give refugees their right to be a part of humanity and to be a part of the Olympics, according to the deputy committee. – International Olympic President (IOC), Juan Antonio Samaranch.
Samaranch made the remarks during a meeting with the public held in Gijon by the representative of the Foundation and the IOC Refugee Olympic Team, who will receive the 2022 Princess of Asturias Prize for Sport on Friday.
“In what part of the world do we talk about refugees but this community is not represented anywhere,” Samaranch stressed, noting that all people could be called Olympians except for the refugee world.
That is why, in the months leading up to the 2016 Rio Olympics, an Olympic team was created that “could give refugees the right to be a part of humanity, at least with the values of sport,” an innovation that “no” would have been left behind.
“It is not a program to win,” confirmed Samaranch, who noted that while the medals are welcome, it is a program of “engagement” and “a project of values and communication.”
Inviting attendees to introduce this team, Samaranch said the goal is that “this values exercise reaches many places, sustains the program, makes it grow and delivers” in a “much stronger” way.
Venezuelan boxer Eldrick Sylla, who had always dreamed of being an Olympian, was forced to leave his country, but he did not give up his “dream” of boxing, and finally found in the refugee program the opportunity that made him, as he asserted, be reborn.
“I represent my people and the thousands of people around the world who for various reasons have had to leave their homes,” the boxer said, noting that it doesn’t matter which part of the world people belong to “because they all laugh and cry for it.” The same”.
In his opinion, it is necessary to “change the concept” of what a refugee is, to stop seeing them “as less” and “open more doors and opportunities” for them, because they are, in fact, people.
Lydia Murungi, coordinator of the Game Connect program in Uganda, which is promoted by the Refugee Foundation, explained that she is using sport in the program as a tool to support and empower young people and give them a better life.
As he said, there is a lack of belonging among these young people, they feel they are not part of their new countries because they have no one to talk to and the program becomes a “platform to meet friends” and provide opportunities.
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