MDX Mental Health nursing graduate Cyrille Tchatchet has been selected as one of 29 athletes who will compete in the IOC Refugee Team at the Tokyo Olympics.
He is the first refugee athlete resident in Britain to be picked for the team, which this year has members from 11 different countries, living and training in the territories of 13 host National Olympic Committees.
The Refugee Team was conceived before and first competed at the 2016 Rio Olympics. At the Opening Ceremony in Tokyo, the team will march under an Olympic flag, in second position behind Greece.
Cyrille holds three Senior National British weightlifting gold medals, five Senior English gold medals, three British University and Colleges Gold Medals, and five Senior national records across two weight classes.
Coming to the UK originally to compete for Cameroon at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, his experiences of depression and destitution as an asylum applicant inspired him to study to become a mental health nurse.
He was drawn to MDX mainly due to its state-of-the-art sports and nursing facilities, gained a place through Clearing and was awarded a full sports scholarship after he arrived. He has been MDX Sportsman of the Year four years running.
He graduated in 2019. During the pandemic he worked at first on a frontline ward and more recently was appointed to a lead nurse role in Harrow. “I’ve come across other asylum seekers,” he told The Independent. “I can understand them and support them. Studying nursing was the best decision I ever made.”
He hopes to go on to study a Postgraduate Certificate in Mental Health Nursing while continuing to work in the field.
Cyrille's coach, MSc programme lead in Strength and Conditioning (DE) and LSI Technical tutor Shyam Chavda, who has worked with him for the past five years since he arrived at MDX, says “I’m so pleased for him! It’s been a long and difficult process, but he finally has the opportunity he deserves to represent himself and other refugees across the world. His tenacity and work ethic gives hope to others, and to be able to display this on the most prestigious sporting platform is incredible. I’m really proud of him.”