Paralympic Games are a symbol of hope and the embodiment of courage to millions around the world. As the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) announced the six athletes who will represent the Refugee Paralympic Team at Tokyo 2020 in 2021, everyone joined in to cheer for not just the six athletes, but the essence and triumph of human spirit.

Refugee Paralympic Team
Refugee Paralympic TeamImage credit:

Joining in the big announcement made via a video, were stars and celebrities from the field of entertainment and show business. "You have to be incredible to get this far but I feel like you'll go even further," said singer Chris Martin, Coldplay frontman, who introduced Ibrahim Al Hussein, 32 years, who'll participate in Para Swimming. He is a Syrian refugee living in Athens, Greece.

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The six-member team comprises of five men and one woman, namely Ibrahim Al Hussein, Alia Issa, Parfait Hakizimana, Abbas Karimi, Shahrad Nasajpour and Anas Al Khalifa. They will be competing in Para athletics, Para swimming, Para canoe and Para Taekwondo under the IPC flag. They will also have the honour of being the first team to enter Tokyo's Olympic Stadium during the Opening Ceremony on 24 August. The Tokyo Paralympic Games start on August 24, 2021 and take place till September 5, 2021.

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games mascots
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games mascot Miraitowa and Paralympic mascot Someity wave with Japan's Paralympic long-jumper Hajimu Ashida and karateka Kiyo Shimkizu atop a cruise ship during their water parade upon their arrival at Odaiba Marine Park in Tokyo, Japan July 22, 2018REUTERS/Issei Kato

Meet the incredible six

The wonderful role models for refugees all stand united in ways more than one. Having had an unfair share of struggles, their journey comprises the triumph of sheer willpower and human spirit.

Apart from the 32-year-old Ibrahim Al Hussein, there's 20-year-old Alia Issa, a Syrian refugee and the only woman in the team, who lives in Athens, Greece and will compete in club throw. Her candidature was announced by British actress and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Gugu-Mbatha-Raw. "You'll be representing refugee women all over the world," she said, while introducing Issa.

Parfait Hakimzimana, 32, a Para Taekwondo athlete is a Burundian refugee living in the Mahama Refugee Camp, Rwanda. His name was announced by opera singer and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Barbara Hendricks. As per the information shared on Olympic's website, "Parfait's participation is the Games is subject to him being classified by August 1, 2021."

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Para Swimmer Abbas Karimi, 24, is an Afghan Refugee living in Fort Lauderdale, USA. He was introduced by famous renowned author Khaled Hosseini, who is himself an Afghan refugee.

Anas Al Khalifa, is a 28-year-old Syrian refugee living in Halle Germany and will compete in the Para canoe competition. As per the information shared on the Olympic website, "he was forced to flee his home country of Bosnia and Herzegovina at a young age." He was announced by footballer Asmir Begovic.

The sixth member of the team is 31-year-old Shahrad Nasajpour, an Iranian refugee now residing in Phoenix, USA, who will be competing in the discus competition. He was announced by Canadian Bayern Munich footballer Alphonso Davis, himself a refugee.