Who Are The Athlete Refugee Team?

They're at the IAAF World Championships in London, but do you know much about the Athlete Refugee Team?

The IAAF World Championships are here, and a number of top stars have already offered up some special moments. But in amongst the Farahs and Bolts are five lesser-known athletes, each of whom has their own story to tell.

These competitors aren’t household names, and they certainly don’t make the headlines. They make up the Athlete Refugee Team, and although they are unable to represent a country, they compete for a number of different reasons.

You may have heard of ART before; they were introduced for the first time back at the 2016 Rio Olympics. They’re a small group who train to both compete and to escape the tough experiences they went through growing up.

The story

Most of the athletes had to flee to Kenya in hope of escaping ongoing civil war in their own countries. It’s a situation very few athletes will be able to relate to, which makes their presence in London that bit more special.

Former Kenyan elite runner, Tegla Loroupe, is the team’s scout – and it’s also her place of birth where ART train, too. The group are supported by On, and the Swiss brand has gone to great lengths to help the team wherever possible.

“On is committed to helping the South Sudanese, Somalian, Congolese and Ethiopian-born athletes achieve their dreams,” On claims. “As part of our on-going support, On has created the team uniform.

The kit

“It features the inscription ‘We are all one’ – not some catchy phrase created by a marketing department, but a wonderful expression that came straight from one of the refugee athletes.”

The team’s kit has a few nice intricate details, and it’s fair to say On has done well to put something neat together. But it’s their work, in terms of working with the athletes and pushing their story, that really catches the eye.

In a bid to help explain the stories of some of the athletes, they have made a number of short films – each offering insight into what the runners have been through. For more, take a look at the video below:

Written by Josh Puttock | 69 articles | View profile

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