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South Sudan refugee athlete Dominic Lokinyomo
eyes history at Doha World Championships

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- South Sudanese athlete Dominic Lokinyomo Lobalu is keen to live his dreams and win a medal at the World Championships in Doha, Qatar in October.

The 20-year-old is part of a group of 30 training and living at the Loroupe camp training under the Athlete Refugee Team.

The Loroupe camp has been funded, in part since 2014, through a grant from the IAAF’s Athletics for a Better World program.

"I want to be the first refugee to get a medal," Lokinyomo told Global athletics governing body IAAF. "That’s more important than anything else."

Though he was not good enough to make the inaugural Refugee Olympic team to the Rio 2016 games, Lokinyomo is training with his eyes on the highest achievement and will want to push his body to attain it in 2019.

This will be 12-years since Lokinyomo arrived in Kenya following years of unrest and civil war in South Sudan.

Lokinyomo wound up in an orphanage for a time until 2007 when, with the help of an Italian NGO, he eventually made it across the border to Kenya.

He later joined up with Tegla Loroupe camp in Nairobi and has since been training.

Last weekend, there was a glimpse of what to expect at the Athletics Kenya Cross Country Series meeting in Kisii when Lokinyomo finished eighth in the men’s senior race, covering the hilly 10km course in 29:31 to finish just over half a minute behind winner Richard Kimunyan.

"His future looks bright," Kenyan national team coach Julius Kirwa observed.

Lokinyomo’s run was arguably one of the most notable performances since the refugee team project, spearheaded by the Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation and the Tegla Loroupe Training Camp for Athlete Refugees in Ngong, Kenya, which made its international debut in 2016.

For his part, Lokinyomo was pleased, but also seemingly unfazed having run together with his teammate and squad captain Pur Biel.

"It was not really that bad. We just kept pushing it until the final lap," Lokinyomo said.

"I am going back to even more serious training in Ngong and I will work with my coaches to refine my skill."

Lokinyomo is already a veteran of three international refugee team appearances, part of a fledgling career that seemed beyond any realm of possibility a decade ago.

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