James Chiengjiek

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James Chiengjiek
James Nyang Chiengjiek cr.jpg
Chiengjiek at the 2016 Olympics
Personal information
Born (1992-03-02) March 2, 1992 (age 27)
Height1.79 m (5 ft 10 12 in)
Weight59 kg (130 lb)
CountryRefugee Olympic Team
SportTrack and field
Event(s)400 metres
ClubTegla Loroupe Foundation[1]
Coached byTegla Loroupe[1]
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)52.89 (2016)[2]

James Nyang Chiengjiek (born March 2, 1992) is a runner originally from South Sudan, but now living and training in Kenya. He was selected by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to compete for the Refugee Olympic Team at the 2016 Summer Olympics.[3] He placed last in his 400 m heat.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Chiengjiek is originally from Bentiu, South Sudan. In 1999 his father, who was a soldier, was killed during the Second Sudanese Civil War.[3] At the age of 13 Chiengjiek left South Sudan and escaped to Kenya as a refugee to avoid being recruited by rebels as a child soldier.[5] In 2002 he ended up at the Kakuma refugee camp.[3] The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) officially granted him refugee status in December 2014.[3]

Athletics career[edit]

He began running whilst attending school in Kenya; joining a group of older children from a town in the highlands known for its long-distance runners who were training for events. He often had to train without shoes which resulted in him getting injured frequently.[5]

In 2013 he was selected to join a group of athletes in the Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation, a support program for refugees from the Kakuma camp run by former marathon world record holder Tegla Loroupe.[5] These athletes were identified by the IOC as having the potential to compete at the 2016 Summer Olympics.[6][7]

On 3 June 2016 the IOC announced that Chiengjiek would be part of a team of ten athletes selected to compete for the Refugee Olympic Team at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.[8]


Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
Representing Refugee Athletes
2016 Summer Olympics Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 8th (h) 400 m 52.89
2018 African Championships Asaba, Nigeria 34th (h) 800 m 1:58.69
2019 IAAF World Relays Yokohama, Japan 7th Mixed 2×2×400 m relay 4:08.80


  1. ^ a b James Nyang Chiengjiek Archived 2016-10-03 at the Wayback Machine. nbcolympics.com
  2. ^ James Chiengjiek at World Athletics
  3. ^ a b c d "Refugee Olympic Team" (PDF). International Olympic Committee. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  4. ^ "James Chiengjiek". rio2016.com. International Olympic Committee. Archived from the original on 26 August 2016. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  5. ^ a b c "These 10 refugees will compete at the 2016 Olympics in Rio". United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. 3 June 2016. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  6. ^ "Refugee team forming for Rio 2016 Olympics: 'We want to send a message of hope'". The National (UAE). Associated Press. 20 March 2016. Retrieved 7 June 2016.
  7. ^ Urken, Ross Kenneth (10 February 2016). "How refugees fleeing Syria and ISIS are keeping their Olympic hopes alive". The Washington Post. Retrieved 7 June 2016.
  8. ^ "Refugee Olympic Team to Shine Spotlight On Worldwide Refugee Crisis". International Olympic Committee. 3 June 2016. Retrieved 3 June 2016.

External links[edit]