Three potential Olympic athletes have been discovered by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in their bid to help those involved in the worldwide refugee crisis, deputy director general and director of NOC relations Pere Miró has revealed.
They include a female Syrian swimmer now residing in Germany, a male judoka from the Democratic Republic of Congo and a taekwondo player from Iran now based in Belgium.
They have been identified as part of the IOC’s mission to aid potential elite athletes who may be seeking refuge in other countries.
Miró said the IOC will do “everything they can” to help those affected reach their ambition of competing at the top level, providing they are good enough to do so.
“The IOC is ready to give them the opportunity and we have the mechanism in place to do so,” Miro said.
“The programme is in its early stages and we will support as many athletes as we can.
“Hopefully we can provide a benefit and help people live a bit better.”
In September, the IOC announced that an emergency fund of $2 million (£1.3 million/€1.8 million) will be made available to National Olympic Committees to fund programmes aimed at helping refugees.
They were then asked to submit projects to assist refugees with $1 million (£650,000//€1.8 million) having come directly from the IOC while the other half of the fund is from Olympic Solidarity.
Miro also confirmed that the money is “close to being finished”, with 17 NOCs having been active in using the IOC funds.
The Hellenic Olympic Committee became the latest body to pledge help to the refugee crisis by launching a support programme in November, with reports claiming the Greek Government could also establish a permanent centre at Olympic Velodrome used for Athens 2004.
Their efforts followed five other European NOCs – Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark and Slovenia – all initiating projects in their countries.
The German Olympic Sports Confederation were the first to take action, joining charities and human rights organisations to launch a campaign aiming to show that refugees are welcome in the country in October.
The respective work of the NOCs comes in response to the crisis, which has seen refugees from the Middle East and Africa attempt to reach Europe in search of safety.
The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees had estimated more than 300,000 refugees and migrants have attempted to reach Europe so far this year.
Around 2,600 migrants and refugees are believed to have died in making dangerous sea crossings across the Mediterranean after fleeing their homes, mainly as a result of war.
- This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, www.insidethegames.biz