"Olympic chiefs give go ahead for 'refugee team' to take part at Rio 2016 More than 40 high-performance athletes, who are also refugees with no home country, have been identified as possible team members in Brazil. A team of up to 10 refugees could take part in the Rio Olympics after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) gave the plan the green light on Wednesday. So far, 43 high-performance athletes, who are also refugees, have been identified as possibly being eligible for the Games which get underway in the Brazilian city on 5 August. “The final number of athletes that would make up this team depends of qualification criteria,” said IOC president Thomas Bach after a meeting of the body’s executive committee on Wednesday. He added that the team would compete under the flag of the IOC. “I can just give you my feeling, but I believe that this team could feature between five and 10 athletes,” said Bach. “We have all been touched by the magnitude of this refugee crisis. By welcoming this team, we want to send a message of hope to all the refugees in the world.” The IOC had already identified in December three athletes who had fled their home countries and whose skills could be of a high enough standard to feature in the 2016 Olympics. They were a Syrian swimmer based in Germany, a judoka from the Democratic Republic of Congo who was living in Brazil and an Iranian taekwondo fighter training in Belgium.... Of the remaining 40 athletes, who are aged between 17 and 30, more than half were identified at the vast Kakuma refugee camp in northwestern Kenya, about 55 miles (90km) from the border with war-torn South Sudan. Pere Miro, the director of the IOC’s Olympic Solidarity programme, which is behind the team, said that after visiting the sprawling camp in January he was “more convinced than ever that pulling together a refugee team could work”. “I was touched in seeing how the people live in this camp,” Miro has said. “It’s in the middle of nowhere. They have nothing to do. The main activity that keeps them motivated and alive is sport.” My personal opinion: Sorry, I really like this. I cried when I read Yusra Mardini's story, because I feel the her divided joy is and her enormous bitterness, but I am happy that she has hope and faith. From Syria to Rio: refugee Yusra Mardini targets Olympic swimming spot: "Last summer, Yusra Mardini and her sister Sarah fled their home in Damascus for Beirut, Istanbul and finally Izmir in Turkey, where they managed to squeeze on to a dinghy crossing the Mediterranean to the Greek island of Lesbos. Thirty minutes into their journey, however, the motor stopped and the boat, carrying 20 people rather than the six or seven it was intended for, threatened to capsize. Yusra, Sarah and another woman got into the water, pushing and pulling the dinghy until they reached the shore. They were the only ones on board who could swim. “I thought it would be a real shame if I drowned in the sea, because I am a swimmer,” she told a Berlin press conference on Friday. She has hated the open sea ever since. In August, almost exactly a year after that treacherous crossing, Mardini is hoping her swimming ability could once again change her life, but in a much happier circumstance. Now living and training in Germany, the 18-year-old is one of 43 athletes across the world who, despite having fled their homelands and become refugees, are vying for the chance to compete in the Rio Olympics." More: From Syria to Rio: refugee Yusra Mardini targets Olympic swimming spot Training bei den Wasserfreunden: Ysra (l.) und Sarah Mardini. Foto: Berliner Zeitung/Markus Wächter Video report by ITV News correspondent Richard Pallot: Syrian refugee swimmer trying to qualify for Olympics: 'When you have a problem you don't have to sit around and cry'