This week, thousands of athletes and staff are arriving in London for the 2012 Summer Olympics, which kick off on July 27. But there is one deserving athlete whose invitation hasn't yet arrived. His name is Guor Marial, and last October he qualified for the Olympic marathon with the blistering time of 2 hours, 14 minutes, 32 seconds.
Marial is also a refugee from Unity State, in what is now South Sudan - and therein lies the problem. Because South Sudan has no National Olympic Committee, and because Marial has chosen not to run for Sudan (whose security forces killed 28 members of his family), he has been left without a national Olympic sponsor.
Like the International Olympic Committee itself, we believe that every individual - displaced or not - is deserving of equal dignity and opportunity. That's why we’re calling on the IOC to let Marial join the 2012 Summer Olympics as an Independent Participant. This designation has been used for years to allow talented athletes from dissolved or new nations to compete at the highest level, and it is just what Marial deserves.*
Please sign the petition to show your support and lobby the IOC to allow Guor Marial to compete at Olympics as an Independent Participant. You can also lobby the IOC on Twitter (https://twitter.com/olympics) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/olympics). Please be polite and courteous.
I’ve spent some time in Sudan and the people I met there were extraordinary. Last week was the first anniversary of South Sudan’s independence and the IOC have a great opportunity to give South Sudan hope and something to celebrate. Guor represents the best of what the Olympics is meant to be and he deserves a place on the marathon start line.
So far, the Government of South Sudan and Refugee International have lobbied the IOC to allow him to compete, but to no avail. Let’s do some good.
*Text from adapted from http://www.refugeesinternational.org/blog/sudan-refugees-olympic-dreams-jeopardy by Michael Boyce. Please note – I am not Michael Boyce, nor am I affiliated with Refugees International in any way.