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Sudan’s stumbling block who didn’t want to be child soldiers

Sudan's stumbling block who didn't want to be child soldiers

Sports Diary (IX)

Refugee James Nyang Chiangjik collapses on the ground during an 800m bout at the Tokyo Olympic Stadium. “That the world recognizes us as human beings is something that gives us hope,” he says.

James Nyang Chiangjik mourns his fall in the 800m tie.AFP

10.06 hours were when James Nyang Chiangjike He ate the ground at the athletics track at the Tokyo Olympic Stadium. This 29-year-old Sudan slipped at the feet of the Spanish sal ordoez By entering lane 2 during an 800-meter tie. With knees and elbows on the track, Cheangjiek spent three seconds lamenting his fall, but quickly got up and limped to finish the race. To finish the last 18 seconds behind the winner, American Clayton Murphy, this is not important. In his place others would have derailed.

Chiengjiek crossed the finish line. Afternoon. But cross. He did so when a few people in the stands – journalists, volunteers and other athletes with their technical teams – stood up to applaud a runner representing the Olympic Refugee Team in Tokyo.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), more than 25 million people worldwide fall into this category. of them all, 29 Now Competing In One Olympic Games, integrating a team that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) created so that no one forgets that these people, who have had to flee their homes because of war or repression, also exist.

“The world recognizes us as human beings who give us hope. Sport has opened doors for us and now we see that many refugees are very talented,” says Chiangjiak. He was already part of the refugee team that participated for the first time in RO 2016. There is a hard history behind all of them.

Begins with a 13-year-old orphaned boy in Cheingjik, who worked as a pastoralist in South Sudan. He had to flee to Kenya so that the rebel militia would not recruit him as a child soldier. I ended up in Kakuma, one of the largest refugee camps in the world. There he started running. To go to school, to meet other Sudanese friends who had fled…

“Then I realized it was faster than the others,” he recalls. The Tegla Lorup Peace Foundation in Kenya recruited him in 2013 and prepared him for the RO Games, where he finished eighth in the 400m series.

The sun was starting to hit the Tokyo Olympic Stadium when the midfielder jumped onto the track Angelina River Lohalith, who shares a team with Chiengjiek. He also fled the war in South Sudan. That was in 2002. The African who fled the country after a year was Jamal Abdelmaji Isa Mohammed.

The Yanjoud militia, backed by the Sudanese government, attacked his village and killed his father. Mohammed managed to cross the border into Egypt and was taken to Israel. He is also in Japan with his teammates to compete in the 5,000m event.

The athlete has witnessed the fall of his fellow Chiangjiak live. “We fall and we rise. That’s what we’ve done all our lives,” he says. “When you see that terrible things happen to you when you’re younger and you get over them, that makes it easier to overcome obstacles later on.”