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South Sudanese athletes arrive home from Rio Olympics

Gale Julius
South Sudan’s Olympic athletes received a warm welcome at Juba International Airport on Saturday, August 27, following the country’s first participation in the Games.
29.08.2016  |  Juba, South Sudan
The Olympians join entertainers for a dance at Juba International Airport upon their return to South Sudan’s capital on Saturday, August 27, 2016. (photo: The Niles | Gale Julius)
The Olympians join entertainers for a dance at Juba International Airport upon their return to South Sudan’s capital on Saturday, August 27, 2016. (photo: The Niles | Gale Julius)

South Sudanese athletes competing in the recently concluded 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, were greeted by hundreds of supporters at the airport. They were welcomed as heroes despite not winning any medal.

South Sudan was represented at the Rio Games by three athletes, the first ones representing South Sudan in the Olympic Games after the country was recognised by the International Olympics Committee (IOC) in August 2015.

The three are Margret Rumat Hassan who competed in the women’s 200-meter race, Santino Kenyi who competed in the men’s 1,500-meter race, and marathon runner Guor Marial.

#SouthSudan’s #Rio2016 Olympic athletes received a warm welcome at #Juba International Airport on Saturday, August 27, following the country’s first participation in the Games. (Video: theniles.org | Samir Bol)

Posted by theniles.org on Tuesday, 30 August 2016

“It was a pleasure to represent my country for the first time in the Olympics. This is an encouragement for the young people of South Sudan to take up sports. Let all people support athletics in South Sudan so that we go stronger in 2020,” Santino Kenyi said.

South Sudan’s Olympic Committee President, Wilson Deng, said the country’s first Olympic appearance has set the agenda for young and upcoming athletes to compete for their country.

“Although we have not brought medals, we have achieved a lot, because recognition of South Sudan as a member of the IOC is a historic moment and a great thing. We hope to do better next time,” Deng said.

Deng added that the team did not go to Rio to win medals, but to expose the young nation to the world and learn from other successful Olympians.

He also said that the IOC has approved the construction of an athletics stadium in Juba, allowing South Sudanese athletes to prepare for the 2020 Olympic Games. 

#SouthSudan’s #Olympic athletes received a warm welcome at #Juba International Airport on Saturday, August 27, following the country’s first participation in the Games. (Photos: theniles.org | Gale Julius Dada)

Posted by theniles.org on Monday, 29 August 2016

  

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