The International Olympic Committee announced the Refugee Olympic Team for Tokyo 2020 on Tuesday, and as a connoisseur of multi-sports games, I found myself curious as to the multi-sports games credentials of the athletes selected for the team.
I began my quest for knowledge by consulting an archive of multi-sports games results dating from the early 2000s to the present. While the search itself took a few hours, having to comb through results of various multi-sports games, it did produce some interesting factoids about a few members of the Refugee Olympic Team.
The first “hit” in the database was for athletics participant, Dorian Keletela. Keletela ran as a representative of the host country, Republic of Congo, back at the 2015 African Games. He was entered into the 100m and clocked a time of 10.68 in the heats. He failed to advance out of the heats, thus ending his pursuit of gold. This was also his only recorded participation at a multi-sports games.
The second athlete to pop up during the search was Wessam Salamana. Salamana competed in boxing at the 2010 Asian Games as a representative of the Syrian Arab Republic. Salamana actually enjoyed relative success at the Games, beating opponents from Timor-Leste, Republic of Korea, and Bhutan on his way to earning a bronze medal. In fact, his only loss came in the semifinals when he was defeated by the eventual gold medalist from Thailand. The 2010 Asian Games would mark Salamana’s only participation at a multi-sports games, but he’ll definitely be hoping to relive his time on the podium at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games.
The next athlete to appear in the database also registered a start for the Syrian Arab Republic. Ahmad Badreddin Wais competed for the country in cycling at the 2018 Mediterranean Games. He recorded results in both the road race and time trial. In the road race, Badreddin Wais finished in 47th place and outside the time limit. However, he faired much better in the time trial placing 16th out of 20 riders, only 2:55 behind the winner of the event. He will likely be hoping for a similar performance in the time trial during the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games.
Perhaps the most prolific multi-sports games athlete on the Refugee Olympic Team is Javad Mahjoub. Mahjoub competed for the Islamic Republic of Iran at both the 2010 and 2014 Asian Games. His performances in Judo at both Games were full of ups-and-downs. At the 2010 Asian Games he managed to win his first match, before subsequently losing two matches, including one in the repechage round. He faired slightly better at the 2014 Asian Games, qualifying for the bronze medal match after losing in the semifinal stage. Unfortunately, he finished the competition in 5th place after a loss in the bronze medal match. He will definitely be hoping for improved results at Tokyo 2020.
The last athlete to appear in the database was Cyrille Fagat Tchatchet II. Tchatchet II participated in weightlifting at the 2014 Commonwealth Games representing the country of Cameroon. He managed a very respectable result at the Games finishing his event in 5th place ahead of 15 other lifters. In total, he managed to lift 315kg during the -85kg competition. The 2014 Commonwealth Games would also mark the end of his multi-sports games journey until it was announced he made the Refugee Olympic Team for Tokyo 2020.
In total, these five athletes represent only a small part of the Refugee Olympic Team. However, these five athletes also show that the Refugee Olympic Team is not to be taken lightly in Tokyo. While they might not be favorites for medals, they are experienced competitors at this level, and will be ready to give it their all in Tokyo.
For those who missed the announcement of the Refugee Olympic Team, a full list of the athletes selected can be found here.