Nike Signs Boxer Cindy Ngamba, Member of the IOC Refugee Olympic Team

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As a reflection of its support for the refugee community, Nike announced it has signed boxer Cindy Ngamba, who is on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Refugee Olympic Team.

Ngamba, who left Cameroon at 11 years old, lives and trains in the United Kingdom. She is a three-time English national champion, and according to the IOC, Ngamba is the first refugee boxer to qualify for the Olympic Games. She will compete in the Paris Games.

Nike confirmed in a statement that Ngamba joined its athlete roster in March.

“Being refugee athletes, we are like any other athlete. The only difference is that we have a different paper or different citizenship,” Ngamba said in a statement. “The moment I realized boxing can change my life is when I first stepped inside a boxing ring. I felt overwhelmed and at the same time excited; that was the moment when I realized I was made for this.”

Nike said in a statement that it continues to collaborate with the Olympic Refuge Foundation (ORF) “to help displaced people find community and a sense of belonging through sport.” This support includes supplying the kit for the IOC Refugee Olympic Team.

The first time the IOC Refugee Olympic Team competed was at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

“The IOC Refugee Olympic Team sends a great signal about what an enrichment refugees are for our Olympic community and for society at large. Watching them compete is a great moment for all of us, and we hope everyone will join. The athletes are welcome in our Olympic community, among their fellow athletes — competing with them, but also living with them together under one roof,” said IOC president Thomas Bach in a statement.

Although the news of the signing is new, it’s not the first announcement the company has made for initiatives supporting the refugee community. For instance, Nike announced in September 2023 that was collaborating with the ORF to “provide access to more inclusive play and sport environments that create greater confidence and improve overall mental health.”

These efforts, Nike said, included working with the Terrains d’Avenirm, which is ORF’s Paris-based program. The program, Nike explained in a statement, focuses on giving women and girls greater access to sport, providing trauma-informed coaching resources to help coaches deliver sport to displaced community members and employing people with lived experience of displacement to support the collaboration.

At the time of the announcement, Nike said it would provide uniform support for both the IOC Refugee Olympic Team and the Refugee Athlete Scholarship Program, which helps support 63 refugee athletes from around the world, representing 13 sports.

About the Author

Peter Verry is the Senior News and Features Editor for Athletic and Outdoor at Footwear News. He oversees coverage of the two fast-paced and ultracompetitive markets, which includes conducting in-depth interviews with industry leaders and writing stories on sneakers and outdoor shoes. He is a lifelong sneaker addict (and shares his newest purchases via @peterverry on Instagram) and spends most of his free time on a trail. He holds an M.A. in journalism from Hofstra University and can be reached at

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