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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 
Tegla Loroupe to lead refugee team of four to
world cross country championship in Kampala 

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Athletics legend Tegla Loroupe will once again lead a team of refugee athletes to debut at the World Cross Country Championships in Kampala, Uganda next week.

Lourupe was the head of delegation when the refugees team competed at the Rio Olympics last year.

The team of four will be competing in the mixed relay race, another cadre that has been introduced by the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF), to spice up the World Cross Country championships.

“It is a great honor for me to lead this team. Last year, we made history taking a refugee team of 10 to the Rio Olympics. Now we have another chance to write history in athletics by competing in cross country,” said Loroupe, Thursday in Nairobi.

According to IAAF the group of four runners known as Athlete Refugee Team will also have Olympian Paulo Amotun Lokoro, who was part of the Refugee Olympic Team in Rio last summer. Their participation is aimed at sending a message of hope to all the refugees of the world. The team has been training in Eldoret.

Loroupe’s foundation, which has been training the team, selected them from the Kakuma camp. The camp, which is near the Kenyan border with Uganda and South Sudan, holds more than 180,000 people.

Over 560 athletes from 60 countries and regions are set to compete in the Ugandan capital in the World Cross Country Championships on March 26. Most will use the event as a stepping stone to gauge their endurance levels ahead of the track season starting in May with the Doha Diamond League.

During the Rio International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said refugees have no home, no team, no flag, no national anthem, when he announced the selected athletes. The IOC came up with the plan last year creating a $2 million training fund and shortlisting dozens of refugee athletes for potential selection. They finally settled on 10 who competed in athletics, swimming and Judo.

             

 

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