Refugee Paralympians leave legacy of hope as Tokyo Games conclude

The Refugee Paralympic Team

After competing with pride and receiving an outpouring of support in Japan and beyond, the Refugee Paralympic Team showed the power of inclusion for displaced people with disabilities.

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Refugee athletes Parfait Hakizimana and Anas Al Khalifa defy the odds in Tokyo

Parfait Hakizimana
Two members of the Refugee Paralympic Team who have had incredible journeys to get to Tokyo are in action on Thursday (2 September) at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. For both Al Khalifa and Hakizimana, just competing in Tokyo is already a big victory.

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UNHCR celebrates trailblazing team of refugee Para athletes at Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games

Paralympic Games logo UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, sends its best wishes to the Refugee Paralympic Team ahead of the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympic Games in Tokyo on Tuesday. The team sends a message of hope to the more than 82 million displaced people around the world, including an estimated 12 million living with a disability.

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The Refugee Paralymic Team

Refugee Paralympics Team logoOf the world’s 82.4 million refugees, 15 per cent – or 12 million people – live with a disability. Bringing attention to this group this month will be six athletes who have been selected as part of the Refugee Paralympic Team.

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Shahrad Nasajpour – Refugee Olympic Team

Shahrad Nasajpour

Nasajpour was born with cerebral palsy that left him with some mobility limitations on his left side. In 2015 he left Iran for the USA. He attended the Rio 206 Paralympics as an Independent Refugee Athlete. He is now a member of the Refugee Paralympic Team in Tokyo 2020.

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Meet Anas Al Khalifa – Paracanoe (KL1, VL2 class)

Anas Al KhalifaAnas Al Khalifa fled the war in Syria and lived in camps before reaching Germany. In 2018, he suffered a spinal cord injury in a workplace accident. He is one of six members of the Refugee Paralympic Team at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.

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Abbas Karimi – Paralympic Swimmer

Abbas Karimi - Paralympic SwimmerMohammad Abbas Karimi is a swimmer, who came second in the S5 50 meter butterfly event at the 2017 World Para Swimming Championships, making him the first refugee athlete to win a medal at that competition. He has won national championship events in Afghanistan, Turkey and the US. He came eighth in the 50 meter butterfly S5 event for the Refugee Paralympic Team at the 2020 Summer Paralympics.

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Meet Parfait Hakizimana – Refugee Taekwondo at the Paralympic Games

Parfait Hakizimana is a Burundian parataekwondo practitionerParfait Hakizimana is a Burundian parataekwondo practitioner who currently resides in Rwanda. He is representing the Refugee Paralympic Team at the 2020 Summer Paralympics in the under 61 kg category, Taekwondo. The Refugee Paralympic Team embodies determination and resilience. And none more so than Parfait Hakizimana. The Taekwondo star is set to compete with the best at the Paralympic Games.

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