For the first time in Olympic history, 10 athletes will compete at Rio 2016 for the Refugee Olympic Team in a move designed to bring global attention to the magnitude of the worldwide refugee crisis.

After the International Olympic Committee president, Thomas Bach, announced in March that a team would be selected, 43 were identified as candidates and 10, displaced from South Sudan, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, have since been picked in three sports - athletics, swimming and judo. The athletes will march with the Olympic flag immediately before host nation Brazil at Friday's opening ceremony.

Bach said: "These refugees have no home, no team, no flag, no national anthem. We will offer them a home in the Olympic Village together with all the athletes of the world. The Olympic anthem will be played in their honour and the Olympic flag will lead them into the Olympic Stadium.

"This will be a symbol of hope for all the refugees in our world, and will make the world better aware of the magnitude of this crisis. It is also a signal to the international community that refugees are our fellow human beings and are an enrichment to society. These refugee athletes will show the world that, despite the unimaginable tragedies they have faced, anyone can contribute to society through their talent, skills and strength of the human spirit."

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James Nyang Chiengjiek

Country of origin: South Sudan
Host NOC: Kenya

Fleeing South Sudan to avoid being captured by rebels intent on recruiting child soldiers, Chiengjiek was relocated to neighbouring Kenya and attended school in a highland town renowned for its runners. "That's when I realised I could make it as a runner - and if God gives you a talent, you have to use it," he says. "We all of us got a lot of injuries because of the wrong shoes we had. Then we were sharing. If maybe you have two pairs of shoes, then you help the one that has none."

Athletics 400m

Rose Nathike Lokonyen

Country of origin: South Sudan
Host NOC: Kenya

Twelve months ago, Lokonyen had never taken part, even as an amateur, in any kind of competitive race but encouraged by a teacher at a refugee camp in northern Kenya she soon found her calling. "I had not been training. It was the first time for me to run and I came number two," she says. "I was very surprised!" Lokonyen, who fled South Sudan at the age of 10, has since moved to Nairobi and while her racing debut came over 10,000m, she takes part in the 800m in Rio.

Athletics 800m

Paulo Lokoro

Country of origin: South Sudan
Host NOC: Kenya

Lokoro trains in Kenya under the guidance of the marathon great Tegla Loroupe and has declared the lofty ambition that he "wants to be world champion". Not that long ago he "knew nothing of the world" outside his homeland, where he herded cattle. It was in a refugee camp in Kenya that Lokoro discovered his running skills. "Before I came here I did not even have training shoes," he says. "Now we have trained and trained, until we see ourselves at a good level."

Athletics 1500m

Anjelina Lohalith

Country of origin: South Sudan
Host NOC: Kenya

Moving to Kenya when she was six years old when "everything was destroyed" in her village, Lohalith has not seen her parents since. After realising she had the talent for athletics, her motivation continues to grow. "If you have money, then your life can change and you will not remain the way you have been," she says. Asked what the first thing she would do with a big win, she replied: "Build my father a better house."

Athletics 1500m

Yiech Biel

Country of origin: South Sudan
Host NOC: Kenya

Another member of the team who train under the tutelage of Loroupe. Following trials last year, Biel left South Sudan in 2005, arriving at the Kakuma refugee camp where he spent the following 10 years. "Most of us face a lot of challenges," he says. "In the refugee camp, we have no facilities - even shoes. There is no gym. Even the weather does not favour training because from morning up to the evening it is so hot and sunny."

Athletics 800m

Yonas Kinde

Country of origin: Ethiopia
Host NOC: Luxembourg

A taxi driver in Luxembourg for the past five years, Kinde ran an impressive 2hr 17min in Germany last October and redoubled his efforts in training when he heard about the Olympic refugee team. "I think it will be the big message that refugees, young athletes, they can do their best," he says. "Of course we have problems - we are refugees - but we can do everything in the refugee camp, so it will help refugee athletes."

Athletics Marathon

Popole Misenga

Country of origin: Democratic Republic of Congo
Host NOC: Brazil

Misenga sought asylum in Brazil after competing at the world judo championships in 2013 - going out in the first round. Originally from the Bukavu area of the DRC, Misenga was severely affected by the second Congo war and after his mother was murdered when he was six years old, he wandered for a week in a rainforest before being taken to Kinshasa. "I have two brothers and I haven't seen them," Misenga said. "I don't know how they look any more because we were separated since we were small. So I send hugs and kisses to my brothers."

Judo 90kg

Yolande Mabika

Country of origin: Democratic Republic of Congo
Host NOC: Brazil

Like Misenga, Mabika settled in Brazil following the 2013 world judo championships. Her coach confiscated her passport and limited her access to food - as he did at every competition abroad. Fed up with years of abuse, Yolande fled the hotel and wandered the streets searching for help. Now, as a refugee in Brazil, she receives training at the judo school founded by Flavio Canto, a Brazilian Olympic bronze medallist. "I will raise the Olympic flag but I'm a little bit sad in my heart and mind because I cannot march under the flag of my country," she says. "Everybody in the world talks about the refugees having no major importance. We are going to show that the refugee is capable of doing everything that other people around the world do."

Judo 70kg

Rami Anis

Country of origin: Syria
Host NOC: Belgium

Put on a plane to Istanbul as bombings and kidnapping grew increasingly regular in Aleppo, Anis honed his swimming technique at the prestigious Galatasaray Sports Club but without Turkish nationality he was unable to swim in competitions. "It's like someone who is studying, studying, studying and he can't take the exam." As a result, Rami sailed in an inflatable dinghy to the Greek island of Samos. Eventually he reached Ghent in Belgium, where he has been training nine times a week with the former Olympic swimmer Carine Verbauwen. "With the energy I have, I am sure I can achieve the best results," he says. "It will be a great feeling to be part of the Olympics."

Swimming 100m butterfly

Yusra Mardini

Country of origin: Syria
Host NOC: Germany

Mardini swam for more than three hours in the sea to get to Greece after the small boat she was on started to capsize. In doing so she and her sister also helped more than a dozen non-swimmers on the boat survive the journey and, now based in Germany, she will compete in the 100m freestyle. "I want everyone to think refugees are normal people who had their homelands and lost them not because they wanted to run away and be refugees," the 18-year-old says. "But because they have dreams in their lives and they had to go. A lot of people in Syria forgot their dreams and I hope everyone will follow their dreams to achieve something good in the future."

Swimming 100m freestyle