Rotary Club of Phuket South Mini Marathon 2017 The Phuket News Kata Rocks The Phuket News Outrigger Koh Samui Beach Resort
The Phuket News World Sport
The Phuket News Phuket | Thailand | World  | Surf Report  | Predictions XML, RSS, Feed
The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News

Refugee status saved career

OLYMPICS: Refugee judoka Popole Misenga said he had to quit the Democratic Republic of Congo and train in Rio’s favelas to save his sporting career.


AFP

Saturday 13 August 2016, 03:00PM


Popole Misenga competed for the Games’ first ever refugee team in Rio. Photo: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP
Popole Misenga competed for the Games’ first ever refugee team in Rio. Photo: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP

Misenga and fellow Congolese Yolande Bukasa started to compete for the Games’ first ever refugee team in the men's under-90kg and women’s under-70kg categories respectively in Rio on Wednesday (Aug 10).

Both fighters live in Rio, having defected following the judo world championships in the city in 2013.

But Misenga said such drastic action was necessary to be able to keep fighting.

“I decided to stay in Brazil. I love sport, in Africa there’s no funding for athletes,” Misenga said. “There isn’t a good support network. I stayed here to look for a good support network, to find people who could help me, to at least prepare in a judo centre – that’s why I stayed in Brazil, to look for that.”

Misenga did not train for two years after arriving in Rio where he struggled, penniless and unable to speak Portuguese.

A friend introduced Misenga, who is now married to a Brazilian with whom he has a child, to former Brazil international fighter Falvio Canto.

The bronze medallist from the Athens Games in 2004, who is now a television presenter and commentator, runs a judo club in a favela in Rio where Rafaela Silva – who won Brazil’s first gold medal of their home Games on Monday – also trains.

“Flavio Canto took me to Reacao where Rafaela also trains. He introduced me to sensei Gerardo (de Moraes Bernardes, the head coach at the Reacao Institute).

“I returned to judo in Reacao, in Flavio Canto’s favela.”

Misenga also received support from the Brazilian Olympic Committee and says it was Canto’s idea for him to join the refugee team.

“It was his idea, he talked to me about it. He said: ‘Are you ready to take part in the Olympics with the refugee team? To do this all you need is courage’.

“Now it’s a reality for me. It’s important to be part of this refugee team.

“[In DRC] I earned nothing. I came here for the world championships and I earned nothing. That hurts my heart, just the fact that I earned nothing.”

Now that he’s at the Olympics, Misenga just wants to fight, like any other athlete in any other tournament.

“It’s my first time doing such a big competition as this. There are a lot of judoka that I know, everyone’s here to do their best, and me too.

“I’m here to do judo like the others, like in other competitions too.”

It’s a far cry from his troubled upbringing in a war-torn country, although he still has some contact with family members in the DRC.

“It’s difficult, my life was difficult there with war and the confused situation in Congo.

“My mother died, I don’t know where she is.”

He was contacted by an uncle, though, who said he’d seen him on television.

Misenga hoped he would be able to give his uncle something to celebrate on Wednesday.

“I’m going to be on the tatami (mat) at the 2016 Olympics – it’s a dream.

“I want to show what I know, here on the tatami.”

 

 

The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Comment on this story
* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.
Comments Here:
Username:
Password:
E-mail:
CAPTCHA
    Forget your password?

Be the first to comment.

The Phuket News
The Phuket News The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Share this
The Phuket News
Have a news tip-off? Click here
The Phuket News
Related stories
The Phuket News
Phuket community

Recent Comments


Phuket M-Slaz rider dies after high-speed collision with pickup truck

I respect your opinion, Foot. To answer you: High speed is a speed that you not able to control yourself when something happens in front of you. A...(Read More)


Red Bull heir threatened with arrest after latest no-show

That this wealthy criminal can do what he wants is not surprising. He can do that because thai government justice system let him do what he wants. I...(Read More)


Cabbie caught, charged with raping Brazilian tourist

After he did this for the 3rd time now he should get a long jail term and after that he should be kept in precautionary custody....(Read More)


Parks department mulls closing Maya Bay

Although i agree that something has to be done about" Maya Bay",i find it strange that Kurt comes here with an endless finger pointing comme...(Read More)


Phuket M-Slaz rider dies after high-speed collision with pickup truck

I'm with simon01 on this one. We do know the truck pulled out in front of him. Kurt, maybe "high speed" was a contributing factor, b...(Read More)


Phuket M-Slaz rider dies after high-speed collision with pickup truck

Yet another one. Why dont people look when pulling out, setting off, doing U turns, changing lane. Ok they say the bike was going fast BUT in Phuket t...(Read More)


Srivara insists Mae Hong Son governor tied to sex trade scandal

Is mr Suebsak still holding official Governor position this time? Is it not appropriate to transfer him out of the province to a ( perhaps temporaril...(Read More)


Cabbie caught, charged with raping Brazilian tourist

Yep once again Jor 12 completely missing the point, if the guy has been convicted twice already how on earth has he been allowed anywhere near a publi...(Read More)


Phuket M-Slaz rider dies after high-speed collision with pickup truck

The person who drives 'high speed' is always at fault when a accident occurs due to 'out of control'. Traffic law is very clear. Mo...(Read More)


Phuket Army chief confirms BYO umbrellas, sun loungers welcome at Surin Beach

While banning vendors on the beach will remove certain money making opportunities for locals, it will also create new opportunities... like rental ser...(Read More)

The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Bangkok Hospital Phuket
PHUKET NEWS
Phuket
Thailand
World
Business
Q A
Weird World
ARCHIVE
POLL
CURRENCY
WEATHER
PHUKET TIDE TABLE
The Phuket News PHUKET LIFE
Phuket Arts
Phuket Community
Phuket Culture
Phuket Dining
Phuket Education
Phuket Entertainment
Phuket Environment
Phuket Health
Phuket People
Phuket Technology
Phuket Travel
Photo Galleries
COLOURING BOOK
The Phuket News PHUKET SPORT
Phuket
Thailand
World
SURF REPORT
PREDICTIONS
The Phuket News PHUKET CLASSIFIEDS
Phuket Buy and Sell
Phuket Jobs
Phuket Property
Phuket Cars and Boats
Phuket Community
Phuket Services
SEARCH CLASSIFIEDS
POST CLASSIFIED
The Phuket News The Phuket News PHUKET EVENTS
Phuket Event listings
Phuket Event calendar
Buy Tickets
POST EVENT
The Phuket News PHUKET DIRECTORY
Phuket Bars, pubs and clubs
Phuket Hotels and villas
Phuket Restaurants
Phuket Yellow Pages
POST LISTING
The Phuket News BARGAINS
The Phuket News ABOUT US
The Company
Distribution points
Subscribe
Advertise with us
Pay for advert
Contact us
CONTESTS
Content Google Map
Site map
Australian Visa Services
 
Currency - The Phuket News   Weather Report - The Phuket News   Surf Report - The Phuket News
LinkedIn - The Phuket News   Twitter - The Phuket News   YouTube - The Phuket News   Facebook - The Phuket News
Copyright © 2017 Class Act Media. All rights reserved. | Website usage terms and conditions | Privacy and Confidentiality Statement.