With the World Athletics Championships under way in London, a film and a photography exhibition document how sport is improving the lives of those with no country to call their own
Sporting eyes are once again on the athletics track as the World Athletics Championships unfolds in and around the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Though stars such as Usain Bolt, and the controversy surrounding former drugs cheats may be dominating headlines, a team of refugees is competing for the first time in the competition’s 34-year history - writes positive news.
The Athlete Refugee Team: a small group of athletes with no nation of their own to represent, was first introduced at the 2016 Rio Olympics, and five members are now competing in London.
The South Sudanese, Somalian, Congolese and Ethiopian-born athletes fled civil wars and the dangers of being either killed or forced into becoming child soldiers. They left their countries to start new lives. But going from the Kenyan refugee camp where they were all scouted for the team, to competing in major athletics tournaments is a transformation that few would have anticipated.
Scouted by Kenyan charity the Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation (TLPF) – founded by former Kenyan long distance track and road runner Tegla Loroupe – the athletes have been given training and accommodation in Kenya, as well as educational opportunities.
I have to polish my talent and show people in the world that a refugee can make it
Now, a film and an exhibition of photographs taken in the team’s Kenyan base, have been created to tell the athletes’ stories. The project is called #WeAreAllOne.
Meet the refugees competing in this year’s World Championships
James Nyang Chiengjiek400 metres