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Rose Nathike Lokonyen (born 24 February 1995)[1] is a track and field athlete originally from South Sudan, but now living and training in Kenya.

Rose Lokonyen
Rose Nathike Lokonyen.jpg
Lokonyen arriving in Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games
Personal information
National team Refugee Olympic Team (ROT)
Born (1995-02-24) 24 February 1995 (age 24)
Height1.57 m (5 ft 2 in)
Weight50 kg (110 lb)
Country South Sudan
Event(s)800 meters
Coached byTegla Loroupe
Updated on 16 August 2016.


Early lifeEdit

Lokonyen was born in South Sudan. Her father is a soldier and she has four younger siblings. When she was 10, Lokonyen and her family fled from soldiers in their village of Chukudum on foot.[2][3] The family then crowded into the back of a truck and made their way to Kakuma refugee camp in northwest Kenya.[2] Her parents left the Kakuma in 2008 but left Lokonyen and her siblings at the refugee camp.[3] When she reached high school, while still living in the refugee camp, Lokonyen began running as a hobby.[2][3]


The International Olympic Committee and Tegla Loroupe Foundation held races as try outs inside of refugee camps for possible participation in the 2016 Summer Olympics. Lokonyen first tried out at the 5,000 meter distance and won her race, while racing barefoot, allowing her advance to Ngong.[2][3] She continued to train alongside other Olympic hopeful refugees in Ngong before being notified she was chosen to compete via a livestream from Geneva, Switzerland. She was coached by John Anzrah.[2]

She was selected by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to compete for the Refugee Olympic Team in the women's 800 m at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.[4] The Refugee Olympic Team was the first refugee team in Olympic history. Lokonyen was one five athletes on the team originally from South Sudan.[5] She was the team's flag bearer at the opening ceremony.[6] Nathinke finished seventh in her first round heat with a time of 2:16.64. She did not advance.[7]

She trains with Tegla Loroupe, a Kenyan world record holding long-distance runner.[3]


Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
Representing Refugee Athletes
2016 Summer Olympics Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 7th (h) 800 m 2:16.64
2017 World Championships London, United Kingdom 8th (h) 800 m 2:20.06


  1. ^ "Rose Nathike Lokonyen". 2016 Summer Olympic Games. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e McKenzie, David; Duggan, Briana; Muhire, Fabien (1 August 2016). "They came as refugees and left as Olympians". Retrieved 4 November 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e Marché, Patrick (16 June 2016). "Olympic refugee team: shoeless Rose Nathike Lokonyen becomes envoy for peace". Archived from the original on 6 August 2016. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
  4. ^ "Refugee Olympic Team" (PDF). International Olympic Committee. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  5. ^ "5 South Sudanese refugees to run in Rio Olympics". Radio Tamazuj. 4 June 2016. Archived from the original on 4 November 2016. Retrieved 4 November 2016.
  6. ^ "Refugee Olympic Team flagbearer announced". International Olympic Committee. 4 August 2016. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
  7. ^ "Women's 800m Round 1". Retrieved 4 November 2016.