Dear friends from The International Olympic Committee,
First of all, I would like to apologize for contacting you through an open letter. It is just a very difficult to reach somebody in the IOC another way.
I hope you will find 5 minutes to read my letter and answer, or connect to somebody who can answer on the matter.
My name is Oleksandra Oliynykova. I am 16 years old.
I am a recognized refugee since fleeing from Ukraine to Croatia in 2011 (given a refugee status in 2012). At the moment I reside in Croatia and play under Croatian flag, though I do not have Croatian citizenship as a refugee.
I am a junior sportsperson – I play tennis.
I am National Champion of Croatia U16, winner & runner-up of several international junior tournaments. Currently I am ranked as the world #425 female junior tennis player in the world, in top-100 world ranking of my age (16 years old & younger) girls, and among top-5 girls playing under Croatian flag.
I know that International Olympic Committee & Olympic Solidarity develops several programs to include refugees into Olympic activity. I saw refugees participated in Olympic Games-2016. I guess that refugees may also participate in Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2018. I know that International Olympic Committee also has various programs for athletes from less developed countries – may be athletes without a country (like refugees) can also be included in those programs?
I would like to participate in Youth Olympics-2018 in Buenos Aires (I believe I am the highest-ranked refugee junior tennis player in the world) as a part of Young Refugees Team. If I need to pass a sport selection, any qualification tournament etc., I am ready to do it!
I would also like to be a candidate for Olympic-2020 adult refugee team. I am already started my adult tennis career with 3 matches in my current record. Till 2020, I am going to be an athlete who is able to qualify into Olympic-2020 Refugee Olympic Team based on sports achievements.
Unfortunately, the National Olympic Committee of Croatia has NEVER contacted me – during the whole 6 years in Croatia. I have never got any information on refugee opportunities, programs, selections, scolarships provided by International Olympic Committee.
It seems that we do not exist for them at all. I would be glad if I am wrong… But, struggling as a junior refugee sportsperson, with much less opportunities than “real” local citizens have, with financial, travel and many other limitations as a natural part of a refugee’s life, I have NEVER been introduced by NOC of Croatia to Olympic programs & projects available for refugees!
The IOC President, Mr. Thomas Bach, said about the Refugee Olympic Team-2016:
“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.”
It is 100% true… but most of refugees (just like me!) simply do not have access to information about efforts of the IOC to support a refugees inclusion into Olympic movement.
Thank you in advance for your time & hope to hear from you soon.
With the best regards,
a refugee junior/pro tennis player