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Rio 2016: Refugee team to compete at Olympics

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Rio will stage the first Games in South America

A team of refugees will compete at this summer's Olympics in Rio.

A total of 43 prospective athletes have been identified for the Team of Refugee Olympic Athletes (ROA), which will compete under the Olympic flag.

"By welcoming ROA to the Olympic Games in Rio, we want to send a message of hope to all the refugees of the world," said International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach.

"This team will be treated like all the other teams."

As well as sporting ability, selection criteria will include personal circumstances and United Nations-verified refugee status.

Athletes will then be supported with funds to train.

"This team may end up between five and 10 athletes maybe," said Bach. "We have no target. It depends very much on the sporting qualifications."

The ROA will be housed in the athletes' village and will enter the opening ceremony as the penultimate team, ahead of hosts Brazil.

The IOC also issued assurances over the Zika virus, slow ticket sales, water pollution and facilities.

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