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IOC to invite top-level refugee athletes to Rio Games

Europe
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Berlin (dpa) - Leading refugee athletes will be invited to compete at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach has said.

The IOC wants member nations to identify top-level athletes who are currently refugees.

They will be invited to compete at the Games under the Olympic flag and using the Olympic anthem, Bach told the UN General Assembly in New York Monday.

Bach said top-level refugee athletes would have a home together with all the other 11,000 athletes from 206 National Olympic Committees in the Olympic Village.

"This will be a symbol of hope for all the refugees in our world, and will make the world better aware of the magnitude of this crisis," he said.

For an Olympic start, athletes would normally need to be entered by their country‘s National Olympic Committee providing they have reached the minimum sporting requirements.

The General Assembly meanwhile approved the observance of the traditional Olympic Truce for the Games.

The truce should be respected from seven days before the start of the August 5-21 Olympics until seven days after the Paralympic Games from September 7-18.

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