MADRID – Inspired to make the world a better place through sport, three-time Olympic gold medallist in shooting Niccolo Campriani leads three refugees on a brave journey to qualify for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Their story will be featured in an upcoming Olympic Channel original series Taking Refuge: Target Tokyo 2020 which is scheduled to premiere worldwide in 2020.
In Taking Refuge: Target Tokyo 2020, Olympic champion Niccolo Campriani brings together a group of refugees to see if any of them has what it takes to qualify for Tokyo 2020 in the air rifle shooting event. Using mental and physical skills honed over years as a professional athlete, Campriani coaches and mentors Mahdi, Khaoula and Luna on a journey of learning, rediscovery and finding inner peace through the unifying power of sport.
Born in Florence, Italy, Campriani, 31, is a three-time Olympian and was named ISSF Shooter of the Year in 2012 and 2016. Following his retirement after the Olympic Games Rio 2016 and inspired by the IOC’s first Refugee Olympic Team, Campriani visited a refugee camp in Africa with the UNHCR and subsequently embarked on a personal endeavour to pay it forward while also figuring out his post-athletic career.
“The idea was to help a couple of refugees from my local area, the Canton of Vaud [Switzerland], to reach the minimum qualifying score for Tokyo in one of the events I competed in, the 10m air rifle,” said Campriani. “Being an Olympic champion is a responsibility. We are role models and we have the power of influencing people, whether we like it or not. After spending many years on improving myself, it was time to roll my sleeves up and give back.”
Currently filming on location at the Italian National Shooting Championships in Bologna, Italy at their first ever shooting competition, Mahdi, Khaoula and Luna have a goal to reach the Minimum Qualifying Score (MQS) in order to become eligible for Tokyo 2020. In addition to learning a new sport, each refugee brings their own incredible story from beyond the world of sport.
“This sport has taught me a lot about how to manage my emotions, my fears and my instincts,” said Campriani. “It’s about moving on from the fears of your past. Not forgetting it but learning how to deal with it in order to focus on the present moment.”
Now retired from competitive shooting, Campriani is investing his own free time and resources to help these individuals and bring the project to fruition. Relying heavily on his personal network, the shooting community and former sponsors, several have supported his effort by donating the needed equipment including air rifles, uniforms and electronic targets.
“When an athlete retires, one of the biggest challenges is to find new goals and, most of all, a new purpose,” said Campriani. “My aim is to inspire Olympians, perhaps from another country or another sport, to do the same. You can help people and at the same time you do something good for yourself.”
Scheduled to appear in the series are fellow athletes including five-time Olympian and Beijing 2008 shooting gold medallist from India Abhinav Bindra. In addition to support from within the shooting community, Campriani’s team is training at the World Archery Excellence Centre in Lausanne, Switzerland.
“Niccolo is a true embodiment of an Olympic champion and we are thrilled to join him and these brave individuals on their inspirational journey as they progress toward Tokyo 2020,” said Greg Groggel, director of original programming for the IOC’s global Olympic Channel. “This is a story of compassion, empowerment, and the power of sport to transform lives.”
The Olympic Channel provides fans with a dedicated media platform to follow the stories behind the sports and athletes before, during and after the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Through inspirational stories, athlete interviews, breaking news, live events, original programming and exclusive behind-the-scenes content, the Olympic Channel provides comprehensive coverage of the road to Tokyo 2020. The Olympic Channel is available worldwide at olympicchannel.com and its apps for mobile and connected TV devices.
About the Olympic Channel
The Olympic Channel is a multi-platform global media destination where fans can discover, engage and share in the power of sport and the excitement of the Olympic Games all year round. Offering original programming, news, live sports events and highlights, the Olympic Channel provides additional exposure for sports and athletes 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in 11 languages. The Olympic Channel was launched in August 2016 in support of the IOC’s goal, set out in Olympic Agenda 2020, of providing a new way to engage younger generations, fans and new audiences with the Olympic Movement. Founding Partners supporting the Olympic Channel are Worldwide TOP Partners Bridgestone, Toyota and Alibaba. The Olympic Channel is available worldwide at olympicchannel.com, its mobile apps and on Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV and the Roku platform.