The team was selected from among the refugee athletes currently supported by the IOC through the Olympic Scholarships for Refugee Athletes programme. Mahmoud’s inclusion in the team makes him the first badminton player to be participating at the Olympics as part of the IOC Refugee Team.
The 23-year-old Mahmoud, currently No.169 in the world rankings, relocated to the Netherlands from Syria in 2015 following unrest in his home country, and has since April 2018 been playing under the Dutch flag.
BWF has confirmed its acceptance of Mahmoud’s qualification to the competition. As IOC have a separate quota position for this place, his entry will not affect the other eligible qualifiers who are in contention through the Tokyo 2020 qualification system.
The 29 athletes of the IOC Refugee Olympic Team met for the first time today in a virtual ceremony during which IOC President Thomas Bach officially announced their participation in the Tokyo Olympics 2020.
Addressing the athletes, the IOC President said: “Congratulations to all of you. I speak on behalf of the entire Olympic Movement when I say that we cannot wait to meet you in person and to see you compete in Tokyo. When you, the IOC Refugee Olympic Team and the athletes from the National Olympic Committees from all over the globe, finally come together in Tokyo on 23 July, it will send a powerful message of solidarity, resilience and hope to the world. You are an integral part of our Olympic community, and we welcome you with open arms.”
UNHCR High Commissioner Filippo Grandi congratulated the athletes, saying: “I am thrilled to congratulate each of the athletes who have been named in the Refugee Olympic Team Tokyo 2020. They are an exceptional group of people who inspire the world. UNHCR is incredibly proud to support them as they compete at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Surviving war, persecution and the anxiety of exile already makes them extraordinary people, but the fact that they now also excel as athletes on the world stage fills me with immense pride. It shows what is possible when refugees are given the opportunity to make the most of their potential”
The team will compete under the Olympic flag. At the Opening Ceremony on 23 July 2021, the athletes will enter the stadium in second position immediately after Greece, sending a strong message of inclusion, and showing the world the strength of the human spirit.