IOC spots three refugees with Olympic ability

Refugees play football at a shelter for asylum seekers on Nov 3, 2015.
Refugees play football at a shelter for asylum seekers on Nov 3, 2015.PHOTO: AFP

LAUSANNE (AFP) - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has identified three refugees from Syria, Congo and Iran who could be competitive enough to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

As part of their work with aid agencies, the IOC asked national Olympic committees to inform them of athletes "who left their country as refugees and are able to take part in high-level sporting events", said Pere Miro, the deputy director-general for relations at the IOC.

"We have identified three cases - a female Syrian swimmer training in Germany, a male judoka from the DR Congo who is in Brazil and a female Iranian taekwondo fighter training in Belgium," he said.

"The IOC would be ready to help their preparation, we have the mechanisms to do so and the funds to help them to try and qualify."

The IOC created a US$2 million (S$2.8 million) fund in September to help refugees with 17 national Olympic committees involved.

But Miro warned that the money is "close to being exhausted".