Founder of Sports Personality of the Year Award (SOYA) Paul Tergat at the launch and sponsorship announcement of the 2020 SOYA event in Nairobi on Wed Feb 17, 2021. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Olympics Kenya President, Dr. Paul Tergat on Thursday paid a visit to the Refugee Olympic Athletes at their training centre hosted by Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation (TLPF) based in Ngong, Kajiado County.

Through her Foundation, Tegla Loroupe was a pioneer of the Refugee Olympic Team and took the first team of ten athletes to the Olympics in Rio in 2016, holding the mantle as the Chef-De-Mission.

 She takes up the same role in the Tokyo Olympics coming up in July 2021and will be assisted by Deputy Chef de Mission Stephen Pattison from the UNHCR.

Refugee Olympic Athletes in Kenya will from this year be hosted under the auspices of Olympics Kenya.

The athletes who are all training at the centre in Ngong, are scholarship holders supported by IOC’s Olympic Solidarity fund.

The athletes are refugees from various nations including, South Sudan, Somalia & Congo DRC and also some reformed warriors from Kenyan communities, most of whom were recruited from the Tegla Loroupe Peace Runs in refugee camps and West Pokot.

From an agreement between Olympics Kenya and Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation, Olympics Kenya will support the administration and TLPF will continue to run the operations of the programme.

This will see the refugee athletes fully involved in Olympics Kenya programs, including vaccination, qualification events, capacity building  and career transition.

Dr. Paul Tergat (R) at Refugee Olympic Athletes training centre, hosted by Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation (TLPF) based in Ngong, Kajiado County. [photo courtesy]

Dr. Tergat was last month appointed to the board of the recently formed Olympic Refugee Foundation, which gives a boost to the program in Kenya, leveraging sport to protect and support young people affected by displacement in this region.

The athletes live and train at the centre, go to school either online or in neighboring schools in Ngong. They’re also trained on life skills to assist them transition to life after sport and take part in agricultural or business activities.

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Dr. Paul Tergat (centre) at Refugee Olympic Athletes training centre, hosted by Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation (TLPF) based in Ngong, Kajiado County. [photo courtesy]

The program has a mission of not only supporting the athletes to thrive in sports but also to improve their well-being and social inclusion, to integrate them in society.

 The scholarship holders are part of 55 refugee athlete scholarship-holders worldwide vying to be part of the Refugee Olympic Team Tokyo 2020.

Other programmes are based in Democratic Republic of Congo, Jordan, Kenya, Mexico, Rwanda, Turkey and Uganda.

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