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Team of refugees created for Rio Olympics

Europe
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Lausanne, Switzerland (dpa) - A team made up of refugees will compete at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in August as a message of hope for others, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on Wednesday.

Team Refugee Olympic Athletes, as it will be named, will likely be made up of five to 10 athletes and receive the same treatment as all other athletes from the 206 IOC member federations.

The IOC said that more than 40 athletes have been identified as possible candidates who could met the Olympic qualifying criteria. They are said to include a swimmer from Syria who is now in Germany, and an Iranian taekwondo player who resides in Belgium.

"By welcoming the team of Refugee Olympic Athletes to the Olympic Games Rio 2016, we want to send a message of hope for all refugees in our world," IOC president Thomas Bach said.

"Having no national team to belong to, having no flag to march behind, having no national anthem to be played, these refugee athletes will be welcomed to the Olympic Games with the Olympic flag and with the Olympic Anthem. They will have a home together with all the other 11,000 athletes from 206 National Olympic Committees in the Olympic Village."

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