Iranian athletes make up nearly half of 2024 refugee Olympic squad

Iranian athletes make up nearly half of 2024 refugee Olympic squad

PAIRS-The president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said at the introduction of the squad roster for the forthcoming Paris Olympics that over half of the athletes chosen for the 2024 Refugee Olympic squad are from Iran. Fourteen, or over forty percent, of the 36 athletes chosen from 11 different nations are Iranian.

Refugee Olympic team composition

Due to persistent anti-regime protests and mounting political and economic pressure over the past several years, there has been a significant departure of sportsmen, artists, and skilled professionals from Iran, as seen by the team’s significant number of Iranian refugees. The 14 Iranian athletes, 10 men and 4 women have established new bases around Europe. Among them are well-known figures in the sports, like boxer Omid Ahmadisafa (Germany), swimmer Matin Balsini (Britain), and judo player Mahboubeh Barbari Zharfi (Germany). Following at least 30 Iranian sportsmen who sought exile in recent years to escape both the country’s political persecution and particular difficulties in the sports industry, there have been widespread defections. Athletes have raised concerns about a number of issues, including corruption in sports federations, the imposed ban on competing against Israeli athletes, and the requirement for women to wear the hijab during competition. Due to the Islamic Republic’s long-standing animosity for Israel, which dates back to 1979, the country’s Olympic athletes are not allowed to compete against Israelis.

Iranian athletes’ refugee status

Officials from the government-run sports organization frequently put pressure on athletes to deliberately lose games, forfeit, or claim ailments in order to avoid competing against Israeli opponents. 36 athletes representing 11 nations in 12 sports will make up the Refugee Team at the Paris Olympics. At the squad announcement on Thursday, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach stated that they were chosen from around 70 scholarships. The refugees compete under their own logo, which is a heart with arrows surrounding it to represent how lost migrants may find their way back, rather than the Olympic flag. The team will go by the abbreviation EOR, which stands for Équipe Olympique des Réfugiés in French.

Representation and diversity

The Refugee Team, competing in 12 sports and 11 countries, consists of 36 competitors.Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee, said during the team announcement on Thursday that they were selected from over 70 scholarships.Rather than the Olympic flag, the refugees compete under their own insignia, which is a heart with arrows encircling it to symbolize how lost migrants may find their way back. Équipe Olympique des Réfugiés, or EOR in French, is the team’s official acronym. Beginning on July 24, a total of 23 men and 13 women will participate in the following sports: athletics, badminton, boxing, breaking, canoeing, cycling, judo, shooting, swimming, taekwondo, weightlifting, and wrestling.

Challenges and opportunities

Critics, however, asserted that the controversy raises serious concerns regarding the integrity of the worldwide testing framework intended to maintain the integrity of Olympic competition and indicated a “potential cover-up”. Travis Tygart, president of the US The Anti-Doping Agency, or USADA, stated, “It’s crushing to see that 23 Chinese swimmers had positive tests for a potent performance-enhancing drug on the eve of the 2021 Olympic Games.” “It’s even more devastating to learn that the World Anti-Doping Agency and the Chinese Anti-Doping Agency secretly, until now, swept these positives under the carpet,” Tygart said in a statement. Prior to the Tokyo Games in June 2021, WADA now concedes that it learned of around two dozen Chinese swimmers who tested positive for drugs.

Call to action: Boycott Pairs Olympics 2024

The current situation of France is not good for fans. Their security measures are unpredictable.  According to WADA authorities, under the circumstances of the case, they were not compelled by international doping regulations to suspend the Chinese athletes or notify other competitors about the tests and investigations. Even with such justifications, worldwide indignation over the case is intensifying. James Guy, a British swimmer who won two gold medals in Tokyo and is scheduled to compete again in Paris, criticized the Chinese competitors who tested positive in a social media message.

International response and support

The 60 urine samples were actually taken by Chinese sports officials months earlier at a swimming tournament in January 2021, according to WADA officials during Monday’s news briefing. Following several months of inaction, the Chinese submitted a hypothesis to WADA suggesting that the athletes had unintentionally come into contact with a highly potent performance-enhancing substance called trimetazidine, or TMZ. How TMZ, a restricted narcotic, may have entered the kitchen or got to the sportsmen has not been explained. Additionally, WADA representatives revealed on Monday that they used samples and data supplied by China for their examination rather than conducting an independent investigation on the ground. 



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