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Paris 2024 Olympics: UK-based boxer Cindy Ngamba to represent Refugee Olympics Team

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UK-based boxer Cindy Ngamba has a chance of becoming the first athlete to win a medal for the Refugee Olympic team after her selection was confirmed by the International Olympic Committee.

Five athletes based in Great Britain have been named in the 36-strong Refugee Olympic Team for this summer's Games in Paris, overseen by Chef de Mission Masomah Ali Zada - who picked out the three-time English champion as one to watch.

Last month, Ngamba became the first refugee boxer to independently secure an Olympic quota place with victory over Kazakhstan's Valentina Khalzova in the women's 75kg quarter-finals of the Road to Paris First World Qualification Tournament.

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Ali Zada, an Afghani cyclist who was herself part of the last Refugee Olympic Team in Tokyo, said: "Already we have a girl in boxing, Cindy, who qualified by herself and I'm sure that she will be able to bring home a medal.

"We hope that she could win an Olympic medal for the first time in the history of the Refugee Olympic Team."

Ngamba was born in Cameroon and moved to the UK aged 11 and has spoken candidly about the challenges she has faced obtaining citizenship since, including the time she was sent to a detention camp over paperwork issues she feared would lead to a deportation.

Ngamba will be among the medal hopefuls for the Refugee Olympic TeamNgamba will be among the medal hopefuls for the Refugee Olympic Team
Ngamba will be among the medal hopefuls for the Refugee Olympic Team

Now 25, she has been able to train alongside top British boxers like Natasha Jonas and Tokyo 2020 gold medallist Lauren Price.

She recently told the Olympic Channel that if selected, the opportunity would be "mind-blowing. It will be the most beautiful thing ever. Most amazing thing that will ever happen to me, and I will cherish it for the rest of my life."

Lauren Price is determined to bring the glory days back to Welsh boxing when she challenges Jessica McCaskill for her WBA and WBC welterweight titles at the Utilita Arena in Cardiff on May 11

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Lauren Price is determined to bring the glory days back to Welsh boxing when she challenges Jessica McCaskill for her WBA and WBC welterweight titles at the Utilita Arena in Cardiff on May 11      
Lauren Price is determined to bring the glory days back to Welsh boxing when she challenges Jessica McCaskill for her WBA and WBC welterweight titles at the Utilita Arena in Cardiff on May 11

Although the Refugee Olympic Team will still walk out for the opening ceremony under the Olympic flag, they will this year have their own emblem and kit.

Which other British-based athletes will feature?

Swimmer Matin Balsini earned a place in Iran's national team aged 15, but left the country in 2022 and settled in Guildford, where - after a seven-month pause as a result of the asylum process - he has been training and working as a lifeguard on weekends.

His compatriot, Dorsa Yavarivafa, was already winning badminton tournaments in her native Tehran but as a 15-year-old was forced to flee Iran with her mother over safety concerns, and had to train in her apartment during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Weightlifter Ramiro Mora, the British 89kg and 96kg record holder, lost both his parents at a young age and made his way into the Cuban national team as a teen before leaving for the UK, where he worked for a Blackpool circus before making his way to Bristol, where he now trains.

Mora will be joined by taekwondo athlete Farzad Mansouri, heading to his second Olympics but his first as a refugee athlete.

The 22-year-old was Afghanistan's Opening Ceremony flagbearer - one of just five competing for his birth country at the Tokyo Olympics - but fled shortly after those Games and now trains alongside the GB squad.

Zada added: "I hope [we will] change minds about refugees, because the Refugee Olympic Team will show another image of refugees. You have a right to have a dream."

What is the Refugee Olympic Team?

The refugee team was created by the IOC for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro to allow athletes to keep competing, even if they have been forced to leave their home countries.

This is the third iteration of the team and the biggest to date, comprising 23 men and 13 women from 11 countries, all of whom hold refugee status in their host nations, set to compete across 12 sports in France.

Mno Sports News reporter Geraint Hughes travels to Paris to unveil the safety plans of the French Government and Olympic organisation as they prepare to host the 2024 Olympic games in the capital city.

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Mno Sports News reporter Geraint Hughes travels to Paris to unveil the safety plans of the French Government and Olympic organisation as they prepare to host the 2024 Olympic games in the capital city.      
Mno Sports News reporter Geraint Hughes travels to Paris to unveil the safety plans of the French Government and Olympic organisation as they prepare to host the 2024 Olympic games in the capital city.

There were 10 athletes in Rio, while the Tokyo the number was 29 across 12 sports. The Refugee Team will have athletes competing in athletics, badminton, boxing, breaking, canoeing, cycling, judo, shooting, swimming, taekwondo, weightlifting and wrestling in Paris.

How can you follow the Olympics on Mno Sports?

The 2024 Paris Olympics takes place from Friday July 26 to Sunday August 11, with Mno Sports News bringing you the latest news and analysis from Paris this summer as part of our comprehensive digital coverage.

You can follow all of the biggest moments from the Olympics via our daily live blogs and reports, plus coverage on Mno Sports News.

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