Bayern Munich footballer Alphonso Davies has told the Refugee Paralympic Team they are “the most courageous sports team in the world” in a letter.
Davies, 20, was born in a refugee camp in Ghana and spent the first five years of his life there before his family were resettled in Canada.
An ambassador for the United Nations refugee charity UNHCR, Davies said the athletes “will change people’s lives”.
“Not everyone understands the journey you have been on,” he wrote.
“But I do, and that’s an important part of what made me who I am.
“I’ve read your stories and learnt about the journeys you have all been through. You are the most courageous sports team in the world right now.
“You are role models now with the power to inspire others. Make no mistake, what you are about to do in Tokyo will change people’s lives.
“There are going to be young people who will take up sport because of you. There will be refugees who through watching you succeed will believe they can too.”
The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games begin on Tuesday, 24 August and will feature about 4,400 athletes competing across 22 sports.
The Refugee Paralympic Team consists of six athletes; Burundi-born taekwondo fighter Parfait Hakizimana, Syria-born canoeist Anas Al Khalifa and swimmer Ibrahim Al Hussein, club thrower Alia Issa, Iran-born discus thrower Shahrad Nasajpour and swimmer Abbas Karimi, born in Afghanistan.