International Olympic Committee President, Thomas Bach, visited apartments in the newly inaugurated Olympic Village on Wednesday along with members of the first ever team of Refugee Olympic Athletes.
Bach was accompanied by Popole Misenga and Yolande Mabika, both judokas from the Democratic Republic of Congo, as they visited one of the 3,600 apartments in the Village, handed over to Olympic authorities on Wednesday.
“I want to win a medal. Just one, and it doesn’t matter if it’s bronze or silver,” Misenga said.
“I am very happy to see our new home,” another refugee Athlete,Mabika said
The team selected a total of ten refugee athletes from countries like Syria and South Sudan, and they will compete in track and field, swimming and judo. Bach said the team represents an important message to the world.
“We want to send a message to the countries to which these refugees are fleeing, we want to show them that these refugees are an enrichment to their society and we want to inspire these countries to integrate these refugees and to integrate these athletes as soon and as good as possible,” Bach said.
The refugee athletes have been gathered and formed with the cooperation of the IOC and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
They will be among 15,000 athletes who will move into the Olympic Village from July 24.