Olympian Loroupe Sets Example with UN Honour

2 | 11 | 2016

Tegla Loroupe exemplified all that it means to be an Olympian as she accepted the prestigious honour of being named United Nations Person of the Year in Kenya.

At a ceremony at the UN office in Nairobi, Loroupe was honoured for her work championing the ability of refugees to participate at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games as well as her leadership in taking peace to conflict zones in Africa.

As Chef de Mission of the first ever Refugee Olympic Team, Loroupe was instrumental in petitioning the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to allow refugees the opportunity to compete in Rio. As a result of her efforts, ten refugees from Syria, Congo, Ethiopia and South Sudan, including five who were residing at the Kakuma refugee camp in her native Kenya, were selected for the Games, competing under the IOC banner for the first time.

Loroupe, a former marathon world record holder, has long been a powerful advocate for peace. In 2006 she was named a UN Ambassador for Sport and is currently a member of Peace and Sport’s Champions for Peace, a group of athletes who seek to use the power of sport to bring about unity.

Through the Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation, which was established in 2003 to support peace building efforts in Kenya and the greater Horn of Africa, Loroupe uses sport and education programmes to help those in need. In 2014 she organised the first peace run in Kakuma Refugee Camp to commemorate World Refugee Day and her athletic training facility for refugees in Ngong Nairobi continues to train talented refugees in athletics and many other sports with the aim of enabling them to compete internationally.

Loroupe was also one of five Olympians honoured in World Olympians Association’s Olympians for Life project which was launched at the Olympians Reunion Centre by EY during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

WOA President Joël Bouzou said:

“Tegla Loroupe is an inspiration to us all and a worthy recipient of this important honour from the UN in Kenya.  As an Olympian she embodies the Olympic spirit, setting an example as an ambassador for peace and a powerful advocate for the rights of both refugees and women.

“WOA extends its warmest congratulations to Tegla for this richly deserved award. We look forward to following her work as she continues to serve society, acting as a role model to other Olympians by demonstrating the power of sport to change lives, bring together divided communities and build peace.”