Refugee judoka Popole Misenga out of Olympics but thrilled all the same

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Popole Misenga made it into the last 16 in the mens 90kg department, where he was beaten by the existing world primary

For almost 20 seconds, Popole Misenga chose not to send as he had a hard time to battle devoid of the disastrous hold that was gradually hyperextending his elbow throughout Wednesdays judo competitors. Around him, the crowd in the almost complete Carioca Arena 2 swelled. Just how much misery could he stand up to?

Turns out plenty. The 24-year-old released himself from the armbar and, with 8 seconds left, tossed Indias Avtar Singh to the mat with a seoi-nage, or shoulder toss, for a yuko to seal an opening-round triumph that implied something more.

Misenga and his fellow judoka Yolande Mabika from the Democratic Republic of the Congo are 2 of 10 professional athletes contending for the very first Olympic refugee group , a group that consists of 2 Syrian swimmers, 5 South Sudanese runners and an Ethiopian marathon runner professional athletes who would otherwise discover themselves without a nation and left out from the Games.

Misenga and Makiba state they withstood extreme mistreatment by their coaches while contending for DRCs nationwide group. They remember being rejected food for days on end and locked into a cell after cannot win competitors medals. When they took a trip to Brazil for the world judo champions 3 years back, the set chose to leave the group hotel and take their possibilities on the streets of Rio without passports, cash or food and to look for asylum.

When the International Olympic Committee revealed the facility of a refugee group as a method to shine a light on the around the world refugee crisis, Misenga and Makiba were picked. The groups psychological march into Maracan arena at the end of Fridays opening event ahead of the hosts Brazil represented among the enduring minutes of Rio 2016

Misengas win on Wednesday took him into the last 16 of the mens 90kg department, where he dealt with the world top, Gwak Dong-han of South Korea. Amidst chants of Po-po-le! Po-po-le! from the crowd, Misenga lost by ippon on a moving lapel strangle in the last minute. He stated later on that he was happy to last more than 4 minutes versus the ruling world champ and promised to go back to the Games to enhance on his ninth-place surface.

Its an honour to be in the Olympics. I combated with a champ, stated Misenga, who has actually not seen his household for 15 years however was positive they were seeing back in DRC. Im simply truly delighted to be here since everyone understands and comprehends about the refugee group, understands the refugee story. Individuals worldwide, theyre all viewing this competitors today.