Asia: ORF announces five new Refugee Athlete Scholarship-holders ahead of Paris 2024


The Olympic Refuge Foundation (ORF) has announced five new Refugee Athlete Scholarship-holders who are being supported to train and compete with the aim of being selected to represent the IOC Refugee Olympic Team Paris 2024. This brings the total number of Refugee Athlete Scholarship-holders on the programme to 74. The refugee athletes are from 12 countries, live in 24 host countries, and represent 14 sports.




The composition of the Refugee Olympic Team for Paris 2024 will be announced by the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, during a special live-streamed event on 2 May.

The five new athletes on the programme include a weightlifter, a swimmer, a boxer, a runner and a canoeist. The National Olympic Committee (NOC) of Spain is now, for the first time, hosting a refugee athlete.

The new athletes on the programme are:

To be eligible for the programme, athletes must be elite competitors in their respective sport and be refugees in their host country, recognised by UNCHR, the UN Refugee Agency. The IOC Executive Board (EB) will decide the composition of the Refugee Olympic Team for Paris 2024, considering each athlete’s sporting performance. Balanced representation in terms of sport, gender and regions will also be taken into consideration.

Aiming for Paris 2024

The Refugee Athlete Support programme is managed by the ORF and funded through the IOC’s Olympic Solidarity. The scholarship provides the athletes with support needed to train and compete at the highest level.

Fernando Dayan Enriquez, Ramiro Mora, Musa Suliman, Matin Balsini and Aryan Saed Panah hope to participate in the Olympic Games in Paris this summer. All surmounting challenges before coming to their host countries, they are dedicated athletes whose lives were changed through sport.

Musa Suliman, a Sudanese football lover who has recently started running, encouraged by the other runners in the facility where he trained in Switzerland, says running “changed his confidence and relationships completely”.

Matin Balsini is a swimmer from Iran who found peace swimming in the UK.

Ramiro Mora, a Cuban weightlifter who initially struggled to meet the weight requirements for weightlifting, today holds multiple records in the 89 and 96kg weight categories.

Aryan Saed Panah, an Iranian boxer, says his difficult past only made him stronger inside and outside the boxing ring.

Finally, Fernando Dayan Enriquez, a Cuban canoeist and Olympic gold medallist, hopes to compete at Paris 2024 in order to reach the top once more.

Beyond the elite: supporting displaced people at all levels

The IOC Refugee Olympic Team, together with the Refugee Athlete Scholarship-holders, represent the challenges and resilience of more than 110 million displaced people worldwide. In addition to supporting elite athletes in their participation in the Olympic Games, the ORF works to provide access to safe sport for people affected by displacement worldwide.

Through partnerships such as the Sport for Refugees Coalition co-convened with UNHCR and the Scort Foundation, through programmes implemented across the globe or through the newly launched Sport Coach+, which provides training in trauma-informed coaching with the IFRC PS Centre, the ORF aims to build a movement where sports can be adopted at all levels as a tool for inclusion for refugees.

Follow their journey on social media

The composition of the IOC Refugee Olympic Team for Paris 2024 will be announced next month. The Refugee Athlete Scholarship-holders’ stories and journeys can be followed on the IOC Refugee Olympic Team social media handles:


by Asia Hockey


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