European Games: Three taekwondoki and two boxers in refugee team

European Games: Three taekwondoki and two boxers in refugee team
Credit: Belga

Five athletes will defend the colours of a refugee team at the 2023 European Games, which will take place from 21 June to 2 July in Poland.

Two of the five were already part of the team selected for the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games.

The refugee team is a joint initiative of the European Olympic Committees (EOC) and the Olympic Refuge Foundation (ORF), which supports displaced youth through sport. All of the selected athletes are part of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) programme for high-performance refugee athletes.

The team selected for the European Games is made up of taekwondoki Kasra Mehdipournejad, Kimia Alizadeh Zenoorin and Dina Pouryounes Langeroudi, and boxers Cindy Winner Djankeu Ngamba and Farid Walizadeh.

Walizadeh, who fled Iran and now lives in Germany, and Pourypunes Langeroudi, who left Iran for the Netherlands, were already part of the IOC’s refugee squad that participated in the Tokyo Games.

The ORF is now supporting 56 athletes who are all hoping to get a ticket on the team that will go to the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Taekwondoka Abdullah Sediqi, who went to Belgium from Afghanistan, competed in 2021 in Tokyo.

Five years earlier, in Rio, Syrian refugee Rami Anis, who was training in Eeklo at the time, competed in swimming.

The previous edition of the European Games was held in Belarus in 2019, when Belgium won six medals, four of them gold.

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