Three Refugee Olympic Athletes Destined for Canadian College after Tokyo Games

By Tess Campbell Modified on August 04, 2021
Tags : Academics | Sports | Travel

Sheridan College partners with WUSC and UNHCR to offer admission to three athletes from the Refugee Olympic Team.


As the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games begin, many successful and heartwarming stories are emerging. The world saw the creation of the Refugee Olympic Team in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, sending a message of hope, solidarity, and support for the millions of refugees around the world. For the Tokyo 2020 Games, the Refugee Olympic Team consists of 29 athletes who are inspiring the world.

Three of these athletes were a part of the very first Refugee Olympic Team in 2016 and have made their second appearance for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. Rose Nathike Likonyen and James Nyang Chiengjiek competed in the 800-metre races, while Paulo Amotun Lokoro competed in the 1,500-metre race at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games. These athletes grew up and still live in the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya after they had fled conflict in South Sudan.

Olympic Refugee Athletes

Welcoming Three Refugee Olympic Athletes to Canada

Three Refugee Olympic Team athletes, Rose Nathike Likonyen, Paulo Amotun Lokoro and James Nyang Chiengjiek, will be pursuing their postsecondary educationat Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario for the 2021-2022 academic year after the Olympic Games. The International Olympic Committee and its Refugee Athlete Support Programme (pdf) help fund refugee athletes with the goal to qualify for the Olympic Games and to continue to support their athletic career and build their future.

In collaboration with the World University Service of Canada (WUSC) Student Refugee Program, The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), The International Olympic Committee, and Sheridan College, these three athletes will be sponsored as they resettle in Canada to continue their education. For over 40 years, WUSC’s Student Refugee Program has combined resettlement with opportunities for higher education for refugee students. This program is available for all refugee students, not just Olympians. You can check out some recent graduates who have participated in this program.

Sheridan College Offers Admission for These Athletes

Sheridan College has a deep commitment to global citizenship and working towards building a brighter future for refugees, so it is no surprise that they will be welcoming three athletes from the Refugee Olympic Team to their campus.

“Sheridan is proud to welcome two-time Olympians Rose Nathike Likonyen, Paulo Amotun Lokoro and James Nyang Chiengjiek as students to our Trafalgar Campus in Oakville this fall,” said Maria Lucido Bezely, Sheridan’s Dean of Students. “The dedication, resilience and tenacity that they have shown in the pursuit of their athletic and personal goals will contribute to their success both on and off the track. We are so pleased that these inspiring athletes have chosen the Sheridan learning community as they settle into life in Canada as permanent residents, and we look forward to supporting their journey.”

The three Olympians will begin their first year in Sheridan’s academic upgrading stream, a program providing students with the admission requirements needed for college programs. Janet Morrison, Sheridan's president, says that this trio will then be able to choose different programs based on their interests and career goals.

This coming academic year, Rose Nathike, Paulo Amotun, and James Nyang will join a cohort of 153 student refugees who will study at 80 institutions across Canada through WUSC’s broader program.

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