BAYERN MUNICH star Alphonso Davies has penned an emotionally personal letter to the Refugee Paralympic Team, describing them as the “the most courageous sports team in the world”.
The 20-year-old was born in a refugee camp in Ghana after his family fled the Second Liberian Civil War.
The winger spent the first five years of his life there before his family were resettled in Canada.
Davies, who once attracted interest from Man Utd, Chelsea and Liverpool, moved to Munich in January 2019 and played a key role in Bayern's Champions League-winning triumph over PSG in Lisbon in 2020.
Six athletes make up the RPT under the IPC flag – Burundi-born taekwondo fighter Parfait Hakizimana, Syria-born canoeist Anas Al Khalifa and swimmer Ibrahim Al Hussein, club thrower Alia Issa, Iran-born discus thrower Shahrad Nasajpour and swimmer Abbas Karimi from Afghanistan.
They will be the first individuals to enter the national stadium in Tokyo during the nations’ parade section of Tuesday’s opening ceremony.
Writing in his capacity as an ambassador for the United Nations refugee charity UNHCR, Davies said on social media the athletes “will change people’s lives” by simply appearing at the Tokyo Paralympics.
Writing in his capacity as an ambassador for the United Nations' refugee charity UNHCR, Davies said on social media the athletes “will change people’s lives” by simply appearing at the Tokyo Paralympics.
Davies wrote: “Please know this: as you dive into the water, as you prepare to throw, as you step into the arena, know what you are not alone.
“The world is behind you, including 82 million displaced people, 12 million of whom are living with a disability.
“Not everyone understands the journey you have been on.
“But I do and that’s an important part of what made me who I am.
“I was born in a refugee camp. My family and I fled war.
“I appreciate it’s sometimes hard to talk about the past. The experiences you’ve had, the things you’ve seen, the discrimination you’ve faced.
“I’ve read your stories and learnt about the journeys you have all been through.
“You are the most courageous sports team in the world right now.
“Many don’t understand how tough it is being a refugee, having been forced to flee for your safety.
“How tough it is being displaced in the middle of a pandemic. Tough being all alone thousands of miles from your families when you need them most.
“Tougher still when you have a disability. But although your pain has been hard you’ve never given up.
“You have found a way to not only practice sport but to perform at the highest levels.
“All those years of dreaming to be on the big stage, all those lung busting sessions in the gym, that hard work and sheer determination has brought you to this moment, the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
“One of the things I know about sport is its power to change lives.
“You are role models now with the power to inspire others. Make no mistake, what you are about to do in Tokyo will change people’s lives.
“There are going to be young people who will take up sport because of you.
“There will be refugees who through watching you succeed will believe they can too.
“And you know what, those people are the next nurses, teachers and scientists. That’s change starting with sport.”
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