S’Sudan Refugees Lament Neutral Flag Competition | Independent Newspapers Limited
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S’Sudan Refugees Lament Neutral Flag Competition

Posted: Aug 2, 2016 at 3:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Steve Oma-Ofozor

Lagos – South Sudanese refugee athletes in the Rio Olympics are lamenting running under a neutral flag.
Consequently, James Nyang, who will take part in the 400m event said that they would fill more fulfilled running under South Sudan flag.
According to him, “It is not our wish to run under a neutral flag. It is the situation we found ourselves and we don’t like it because we are South Sudan.”
Nyang, who was already dreaming of Tokyo Olympic said, “In 2020 Olympics we would go to the Games as South Sudan and compete under South Sudan flag, not neutral flag.”
Also speaking, Anjelina Nada Lohalith, who will compete in the 1,500-meter run, told reporters at Rio’s Tom Jobim Airport that participating at the Games was “really important, because I know I am going to represent thousands of refugees from around the world.”
She (Lohalith) made it clear that was not how she imagined competing, while training for the Games.
“The only thing I can say is that we did not want to be here as refugees, but that is what happened. Now we want to do something positive for the people, so perhaps it will be a way of showing the world (the problem), so that there will be fewer refugees in the world,” she added.
Other South Sudanese, who joined Lohalith and Nyang were Paulo Lokoro (1,500m), Yiech Pur Biel and Rose Nathike Lokonyen (800m).
The refugee athletes, who arrived Brazil over the weekend and were taken to the Olympic Village also include Syrian refugee swimmers Yursa Mardini (100m freestyle and 100m butterfly) and Rami Anis (100m butterfly).
From Democratic Republic of Congo also two refugee athletes Yolande Mabika (judo) and Popole Misenga (judo), who are living in Rio.
From Ethiopia is one refugee athlete, a marathon runner, Yonas Kinde, who lives in Luxembourg; he arrived Monday August 1 and will complete under the Team ROA.
In all, the Rio Olympics have 10 refugee athletes participating in the Games.