Sport

Rio 2016 Olympics: Meet the first ever refugee team

By Ollie Williams & Henry Young, for CNN

Updated 1644 GMT (0044 HKT) July 29, 2016
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Every competitor at the 2016 Olympics will have undergone a personal journey to reach Rio. But for some athletes, notably a number of refugee competitors, the path has been truly life changing ... YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Paul Amotun Lokoro fled war in his home country of South Sudan. Years later, the 24-year-old is aiming to not just compete, but thrive at the Olympic Games."I want to win a gold," he says. "If I win the race, I will be famous!" Claire Thomas/Claire Thomas
Fourteen years after leaving South Sudan for the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya, Rose Nathike Lokonyen is set to line up alongside some of the world's finest middle distance runners at Rio 2016. Claire Thomas/Claire Thomas
Pur Biel also fled the Sudanese civil war, arriving at the Kakuma camp in 2005. The 21-year-old cites the prospect of Rio 2016 as "a great moment in my life and a story to my children and grandchildren." Claire Thomas/Claire Thomas
Six years ago, Rami Anis was swimming for Syria at the Asian Games in China. But in 2011, he fled his home of Aleppo to escape bombing.
His new coach in Belgium believes Anis' place in the Rio 2016 Olympic refugee team is a form of "justice".
FRANCOIS XAVIER MARIT/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Joining Rami on the team is 18-year-old Yusra Mardini, another refugee from Syria who now trains in Germany. Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images for IOC
Mardini's coach, Sven Spannekrebs (pictured left here), will be one of the backroom staff joining the refugee team for Rio.
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Congolese judo athlete Popole Misenga sought asylum in Brazil after the 2013 world championships in Rio. He will be on the official Olympic Refugee Team for the 2016 Games in the same city. YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Misenga, 24, has married a Brazilian and has a young son since being granted asylum. He says Rio is a "magical place" to live. YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Anjelina Lohalith, 21, left her home country when she was just eight years old. While her family remain in South Sudan, she will now compete in Rio in the 1500m for the Refugee Olympic Team. Claire Thomas/Claire Thomas
36-year-old Yonas Kinde left Ethiopia for Luxembourg in 2012 and immediately pursued his love for running. He soon becoming the best long distance runner in the tiny European country. Claire Thomas/Claire Thomas
Just 13-years-old when he left his home, Chiengjiek managed to avoid the fate of South Sudan's child soldiers. He reached Kenya's Kakuma camp in 2002, quickly capitalizing on his athletic talents despite a lack of top class facilities. Claire Thomas/Claire Thomas
Raheleh Asemani, formerly a taekwondo athlete for Iran, was on the shortlist for the Olympic Refugee Team -- but will now compete for Belgium in Rio having been granted citizenship. ANTONY DICKSON/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
For many years, Kenyan marathon runner Tegla Loroupe has been using athletics to work toward peace in Africa. Five of the Olympic Refugee Team are South Sudanese refugees from her foundation's training center, and she will be the team's chef de mission.
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