South Sudan on Thursday said two athletes from the world’s youngest country will participate in the Rio Olympic Games in August.
The two are Margret Rumat Hassan for the women’s 200-meter and Santino Kenyi for the men’s 1500-meter.
Hassan, 19, competed as an independent Olympic athlete in the 2014 Summer Youth Olympics.
South Sudan will compete in the Olympics Games for the first time after it became the 206th member of the International Olympics Committee (IOC) in August 2015.
The President of the South Sudan Olympic Committee, Lt. General Wilson Deng Kuoirot, said the two athletes, alongside 12 others, participated in the Africa Senior championship in South Africa from June 22-28 but failed to qualify for the Rio Games.
Deng said the 14 athletes performed poorly due to lack of sports facilities and coaches in South Sudan.
“We have no facilities in South Sudan for our athletes to practice. Secondly there are no qualified trainers and sports equipment in the country. It is like teaching without a classroom. So it was very difficult for our athletes in Durban,” he said.
Deng however said the two athletes will be sent for training in a foreign country with better facilities before they travel to Rio de Janeiro next month.
South Sudan has only one sports facility — Juba Football Stadium — that has so far met international standards.
The notable absentee in the list is Guor Marial, a South Sudanese marathon runner who competed as an independent Olympic athlete in the London 2012 Olympics.
Juma Stephen Lugga, a technical advisor to the South Sudan Olympic Committee, said Marial was left out because he collapsed during a qualifier marathon on July 3.
“Guor Marial collapsed in the field and failed to qualify for the Olympics. We cannot risk him now. He should recover fully and we may name him for other competitions,” Lugga said.