•Refugee athlete James Nyang' was among 10 refugee athletes who debuted at the Rio Olympics in 2016 as part of the Refugee Olympics Athletes team
•The team was the brainchild of two-time New York City Marathon winner and Kenyan athletics legend Tegla Loroupe
Refugee athlete James Nyang wants to excel at the highest level in athletics and inspire many more talented sportspersons at Kakuma refugee camp and in his South Sudan homeland.
The 400m and 800m specialist said he wants to be among young athletes who are changing the negative perceptions associated with South Sudanese youth in the war-torn country.
"Back home, it is the youth that are used to fighting the war and are the most affected when all is done and dusted.
"What happened in our country is lesson enough for us and would not want others to follow the same path.
"Coming here is an opportunity for us refugees to exploit our talents and contribute positively back home. Because of the successes that we have experienced so far, many of our peers back in the camp have started to take sports seriously as a tool for uniting people," Nyang' said.
Nyang, who escaped his native country and docked at the Kakuma camp in 2002, was among 10 refugees who debuted at the 2016 Rio Olympics as part of the Refugee Olympics Athletes team during which he finished eighth in the 400m heats.
He is among 32 refugee athletes preparing for the Tokyo Olympics as part of Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation in Ngong', Nairobi.
The centre is owned and managed by two-time New York Marathon winner and athletics legend Tegla Loroupe who is the pioneer of the Refugee Olympic Team.
Nyang' is hoping to grace the Olympics stage once more but insists his plans for his career are much bigger than just an appearance in Tokyo.
"I don't know yet if I will make it to the Olympics. For now the focus is on training. If I get the chance to go to the games once again, I'll appreciate very much. If I miss out, I will still be very happy for my brothers and sisters because we are all one family," he said.
Nyang' described his fellow athletes and coaches as his new family who have made him feel welcomed and loved at the centre.
"Tegla is like our elder sister; like our mother. When I came here, I found other athletes from other countries and we became one family. All of us share similar experiences in that we came from war-torn areas. We have learnt to support one another because we have the same aspirations," Nyang, who also competed at the 2018 African Championships in Algeria, said.
The athletes, most of who reside at the centre, have been engaging in agricultural and poultry keeping activities, which have sustained them during the tough coronavirus period.
"We started this venture about two years ago with rearing poultry. Then we moved on to rearing rabbits. It has come in handy during the corona period because we do not have to fork out a lot of money to buy food from outside."