ESPMI Network

gettyimages-524133038-a0bb71b353be95639181a674bc52d585c1299843-s1500-c85 Popole Misenga (right) trains at Rio’s Instituto Reacao on April 14. Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty Images

June 3, 20163:03 PM ET
In an Olympic first, 10 members of an unusual team will be competing at the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro: a squad made up entirely of refugees.

Those who made the cut include Popole Misenga and Yolande Mabika, two refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo. They are already living in Brazil, where the games open on Aug. 5.

Agile, fast and relentless, they are training for Olympic glory in judo. Like many refugees, they faced war and hunger in Congo, where millions have perished in violence over the past two decades. But they ended up here in Rio in an unexpected way.

Mabika, 28, recounts in Portuguese how both she and Misenga, 23, were part of the Congo’s national judo team when…

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