Sport and refugees weekly: 2 May 2021
Sport and refugees weekly: 2 May 2021
Want to know what's happening in the world of sport and refugees? Here are the top headlines for the week ending on 2 May 2021.
The first World Taekwondo-International University Sports Federation (FISU) University Sport and Peace Forum was held virtually on April 30, aimed at seeking solutions and suggestions so as to improve the difficulties faced in using sport to bring people together. Humanity, social justice and gender equality were the main themes of the event.
Kakar, a 29-year old Balochistan native, fled Pakistan after being threatened by militants. He spent seven years in detention in Papua New Guinea, most of it in the notorious Manus Camp. This was his first fight since being given asylum in the USA last year, and he had only three weeks to prepare. His motivation to keep going has been his family, who he has not met in nearly a decade – they cheered him on as they watched him live on TV.
Football Welcomes is an annual Amnesty UK initiative which celebrates the contributions of refugees and asylees to football, and is now in its ninth year. Derby County joined other football clubs to participate in the initiative by offering local sessions in partnership with the Derby Refugee Advice Centre and supporting refugees to take part in physical activities to help their integration into their new homes.
A group of Kenyan refugees are part of the 55 person Refugee Olympic Team that will participate in the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games. The athletes train at the Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation (TLPF) based in Ngong, Kajiado County and are scholarship holders supported by IOC’s Olympic Solidarity fund.
Tracy Williams is a former member of the Harlem Globetrotters, a basketball coach and a Charity Bounce Global Ambassador, who has spent the last three years working with this Sydney-based organisation to use basketball to help children and youth from marginalised backgrounds. The organisation focuses on Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders, culturally diverse communities and recently arrived refugees, and aims to not only make them better basketball players, but also improve their life through health, education and employment programmes. For Williams, coaching this group has been one of his greatest honours.
Kwity Paye was born a refugee. His mother gave birth to him in a refugee camp in Guinea, after his family fled his war-torn native Liberia. His mother has escaped two civil wars in West Africa, and lost her father in a civil war. After spending most of her life in refugee camps, she is proud of the achievements of her son.
Clapton CFC, rooted in anti-fascist values, is committed to making football accessible for all, regardless of age, gender, background or ability. They have partnered with Renaissance FC, which provides refugees and asylees with a space where they can work on their physical and mental health, while improving their English and social skills. Through this partnership, they provide a mixed environment for all to come together and forget their life’s bigger problems, if only for a few hours.
Ibrahim al-Hussein always dreamt of becoming an Olympian. He lost a leg in the Syrian war, but he did not give up on his dream. In 2016, he was part of the first ever refugee team at the Rio Paralympics, and is now training for the upcoming Tokyo Paralympic Games.
Nico Williams made his La Liga debut for Athletic Club, following in the footsteps of his elder brother who joined the team 6 years ago. Both brothers got a chance to play on the same pitch, alongside each other, when Inaki entered the field at the 71st minute. It was a proud moment for the pair’s parents, who walked barefoot across the Sahara, fleeing their native Ghana for a brighter future for their children in Spain.
Colorado-based football club GAM United’s midfielder, Elijah Mwenebitu, was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and moved to a refugee camp in Mozambique at the age of 5, where he began to play soccer. In 2005, at the age of 8, Elijah and his family arrived in Colorado, and found that he had a better chance to build his skills here. New Balance has teamed up with this fiercely independent sportsman to promote their V6+ cleats.
Awak Kuier is the daughter of South Sudanese immigrants, and grew up in Finland. She was born in Cairo, after her parents left their war-torn homeland, and moved to Finland when Kuier was 2, hoping for a better future for her and her four brothers. A professional basketball player in Italy, Kuier is a projected top pick in the WNBA draft and set to become the first Finnish player to be part of the WNBA’s 25 year history. It has not been an easy journey for her, as she has faced her fair share of racism while growing up. But she did not let it deter her from the joys of playing basketball. Now, she is proud to represent Finland, and believes she owes much of her success to her adoptive country, which she considers home.
This information has been compiled by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.