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Para Sports

Largest refugee contingent to compete in Paris Paralympics

The eight athletes will compete across six sports – Para athletics, Para powerlifting, Para table tennis, Para taekwondo, Para triathlon, and wheelchair fencing.

Largest refugee contingent to compete in Paris Paralympics
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The refugee Paralympic team for the 2024 Paris Paralympics. (Credit: IPC)

By

The Bridge Desk

Updated: 9 July 2024 8:13 AM GMT

With 50 days to go for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has named the eight athletes and one guide runner who will make up the largest-ever Refugee Paralympic Team (RPT).

The eight athletes are based in six countries representing more than 120 million forcibly displaced people worldwide.

They will compete across six sports – Para athletics, Para powerlifting, Para table tennis, Para taekwondo, Para triathlon, and wheelchair fencing.

“All Paralympians have stories of incredible resilience but the stories of these athletes and their journeys as refugees surviving war and persecution to compete at the Paralympic Games is off-the-charts awe-inspiring,” said Andrew Parsons, the president of IPC.

“Unfortunately, the world has more than 120 million forcibly displaced people worldwide. Many live in dire conditions. These athletes have persevered and shown incredible determination to get to Paris 2024 and give every refugee around the world hope. The Refugee Paralympic Team shines a spotlight on the transformational impact of sport.”

The Athletes:

  • Zakia Khudadadi (Para taekwondo)
  • Guillaume Junior Atangana (Para athletics)
  • Ibrahim Al Hussein (Para triathlon)
  • Salman Abbariki (Para-athletics)
  • Hadi Darvish (Para powerlifting)
  • Sayed Amir Hossein Pour (Para table tennis)
  • Amelio Castro Grueso (Wheelchair fencing)
  • Hadi Hassanzada (Para taekwondo)

Filippo Grandi, the head of UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, said, “For a third consecutive Paralympics, a team of determined, inspirational refugee athletes will show the world just what they can achieve if given the chance. Refugees thrive when allowed to use, develop, and showcase their skills and talents, in sports and many other walks of life.

“We at UNHCR are hugely grateful to the IPC as a key player in our growing international partnership to bring sport to refugees. Sport is vital to their mental and physical well-being, as well as their inclusion and integration with the communities that host them,” Grandi added.

Leading the Refugee Paralympic Team is Chef de Mission Nyasha Mharakurwa, who represented Zimbabwe in wheelchair tennis at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, one of only two athletes to compete there for his country.

For the past five years, he has worked directly with members, including International Federations, as an IPC staff member. He described being designated Chef de Mission for the RPT as "humbling".

The Refugee Paralympic Team will participate under the IPC flag and will be the first team to march into the Opening Ceremony on August 28th, which will take place along the Champs-Elysees and Place de la Concorde.

The Refugee Paralympic Team had two athletes at Rio 2016 and six at Tokyo 2020.

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