Info & Other

Open Letter to the International Olympic Committee (IOC)


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?

Refugee Olympic Athletes team - 2016

Refugee Olympic Athletes team – 2016

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,

Oleksandra Oliynykova,

a refugee junior/pro tennis player

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