Oct 092018
Afghan woman among nine new IOC members

BUENOS AIRES: Samira Asghari, a 24-year-old Afghan woman, was among nine new International Olympic Committee members elected Tuesday, but there was still no place for either IAAF president Sebastian Coe or FIFA head Gianni Infantino.“She’s a lady who is doing a fantastic job to promote women’s sports in Afghanistan,” IOC president Thomas Bach said of Asghari, who made her name as captain of the Afghan women’s basketball team before holding several roles in sports administration.“You know very well that this is not very easy for many reasons in this country.” The two other women elected at the 133rd IOC meeting in the Argentinian capital were Daina Gudzineviciute, president of the Lithuanian Olympic committee, and Felicite Rwemarika, first vice-president of Rwandan Olympic committee.Among other new members are Prince Jygyel Ugyen Wangchuck, president of the Bhutanese Olympic committee, Japan’s Morinari Watanabe, head of the International Gymnastics federation, and Brazilian Andrew Parsons, president of the International Paralympic Committee. Giovanni Malago, Camilo Perez Lopez Moreira and William Frederick Blick, respective presidents of the Italian, Paraguyan and Ugandan Olympic committees, were also elected.While predecessors Sepp Blatter and Lamine Diack were long-time IOC members, before both were caught up in corruption scandals, British track and field administrator Coe and world football chief Infantino again miss out.

Dec 062017
Winter Olympics chiefs accept IOC ban

SEOUL: Winter Olympics organisers said Wednesday they would prefer if Russians competed under their own flag, but accepted as “second-best” an International Olympic Committee ruling which allows clean athletes from Russia to take part in the Games as neutrals. Russia was banned from the 2018 Winter Games on Tuesday because of a state-orchestrated doping programme, but the IOC said clean Russian athletes would be able to enter under an Olympic flag. “We find it the second-best alternative, albeit not the best, that Russian players are at least allowed to compete individually,” said Lee Hee-Bum, chief of the Pyeongchang organising committee for February’s Winter Olympics in South Korea. The ban constitutes the toughest sanctions ever levelled by the IOC for drug cheating while still offering Russian athletes who can prove they are clean a route to compete in Pyeongchang. The decision caught the Games organisers off guard, Lee said in a radio interview. And it raises the prospect of Moscow boycotting the Games, something that organisers will be desperate to avoid as they battle low ticket sales and concern over North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests. “We did not know that it (the punishment) would be this much,” Lee said, adding there was a “heated debate” among the IOC members before reaching the decision.

Oct 042017
Tokyo 2020 water venue polluted

TOKYO: Tokyo Olympic organisers said on Wednesday that prolonged summer rain had temporarily brought high levels of bacteria to a venue intended for triathlon and marathon swimming at the 2020 Games.The admission came during a visit by International Olympic Committee officials to assess Tokyo’s readiness to host the Games, with just a little over 1,000 days to go. Many samples taken from late July through early September at the Odaiba Marine Park showed elevated levels of pollution, said Koji Murofushi, sports director for the Tokyo 2020 organising committee. “The timing and the volume of rainfall impacted the data,” said Murofushi, blaming unusually long rains — the Japanese capital saw three straight weeks of precipitation at that time — that brought pollutants from offshore. Tokyo officials said underwater screens and better infrastructure, including beefed up local sewage, should help maintain the water quality to international standards.The facility routinely hosts triathlon and swimming events that meet international quality standards, sports officials said. Murofushi rejected the idea of changing the venue, pledging that “measures will be taken so that we can provide an excellent environment for the sports” during the 2020 Games.IOC vice president John Coates warned the Japanese capital should prepare for the worst possible weather conditions. The IOC expected Tokyo to take steps “to ensure that even in the worst of conditions that those matters will be addressed and the health of athletes in those two sports will not be prejudiced in any way,” Coates said. Swimming’s governing body FINA said [Read More…]

Sep 192017
Bach lifts lid on 2024-2028 joint award

LOS ANGELES, California: International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach lifted the lid on how the joint award of the 2024-2028 Olympics came about here Monday, revealing that the idea had originated with US officials. Talking to reporters as he wrapped up a two-day visit of Los Angeles after the city was confirmed as hosts for the 2028 Olympics in Lima last week, Bach confirmed the plan was first discussed with Los Angeles officials in November 2016. Bach revealed that it had been United States Olympic Committee chairman Larry Probst who had first suggested he raise the possibility of awarding Los Angeles the 2028 Games. “(Probst) first gave me the idea of a double allocation,” Bach said.In November 2016, Bach said he met Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on the sidelines of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) General Assembly in Doha. “It was around 115 degrees, 120 percent humidity,” Bach recalled.“We were walking along the seafront. We were discussing the idea (of the joint award),” added Bach, joking that Garcetti “pretended not to be aware” of the USOC joint award idea. “This was the moment when I got to know the mayor and the LA bid, and I knew we were dealing with people the IOC could trust,” he added.Two weeks after the meeting in Doha, Bach held a press conference in Lausanne where he went public with his view that the bidding process created “too many losers.”

Aug 042017
IOC defends stance on Russian doping

LONDON: The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Friday defended its stance on Russia despite being criticised for baulking at calls to ban the country outright from last year’s Rio Olympics over doping. Russia was accused in a World Anti-Doping Agency report last year of widespread state-sponsored doping. Its athletics team was barred by the IAAF from the Rio Games and will also miss the IAAF World Championships that got under way later Friday.But there was no blanket ban for Russia in Rio, the IOC coming under fire for instead allowing individual sports federations to decide which Russian athletes could compete. IOC president Thomas Bach insisted that the IAAF was a special case, outlining the “collusive cooperation” Russian elements had enjoyed with the disgraced former IAAF president Lamine Diack and other corrupt people at the heart of track and field. Russia “was discussed, it was raised”, Bach told a press conference here alongside current IAAF president Sebastian Coe, who initiated the ban on Russia and resultant reforms within global track and field’s governing body. “It was very clear that, as we have always said, different issues need different approaches,” the German said.“The IAAF is in fact the only international federation, international sports organisation, which is, due to facts relating to the former leadership of the IAAF, implicated in the report of Professor McLaren as is the national federation of athletics of Russia,” he said in reference to the Canadian co-author of the bombshell report into the state-sponsored doping. “This is the [Read More…]

May 132017
LA throws down gauntlet to Paris in 2024 hosting battle

LOS ANGELES, California: Los Angeles 2024 made a final pitch to the International Olympic Committee’s Evaluation Commission on Friday and now will wait and see if they hit a home run to win the right to host the Summer Games for a third time. Paris, the only other city in the running for the 2024 Olympics, will get their chance to showcase their bid next week but LA threw down the gauntlet to the French capital with a plan that commission leader Patrick Baumann said had no major risks and venues that he gushed as “mind-blowing”. “Los Angeles is already a great Olympic city but after these three days we now realise that was an understatement,” Baumann told reporters. “This visit has certainly confirmed our opinion that Los Angeles has developed an excellent proposal. “Their vision and concept have embraced the direction provided by the Olympic Agenda 2020 with the extensive use of existing facilities in particular. “It goes from spectacular venues, to impressive venues to mind-blowing venues. It was very positive because we were able to see them.” The Evaluation commission was treated to the full LA experience during a whirlwind visit that included a glitzy, celebrity-packed party at the home of Los Angeles bid chief Casey Wasserman, playing some basketball at the Staples Centre and hitting the Santa Monica beach along with a tour of the Memorial Coliseum that anchored the 1932 and 1984 Summer Games and will be a centrepiece again should LA get the 2024 Olympics. [Read More…]

May 032017
Maria on IOC?s Women and Sports Commission

LAHORE: Squash player Maria Toor Wazir has become the first Pakistani female athlete added to International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Women and Sports Commission which aims to bring improvement in policies for female sportspersons involved in Olympics. She will assist the commission in making policies for betterment of women in Olympics. Maria has become a part of those 38 percent members who will represent women in IOC. IOC increased the female quota in 2013. Maria called her inclusion in sports commission “an honour” for herself and her country. Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) sent her a message of delight. POA president Lt Gen (R) Syed Arif Hasan and secretary Khalid Mahmood said they were delighted to learn that Maria had been added to the IOC Women and Sports Commission. “We sincerely hope that she will deliver the same way as she has been performing on the squash court and be a role model for Pakistani athletes. We wish her every success,” they said.

May 022017
Toorpakai to raise Pakistan's sports profile through IOC's Women in Sports Commission

Pakistani squash star Maria Toorpakai Wazir, who was announced as a member of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Women in Sports Commission on April 25, has said her appointment will benefit Pakistan. Wazir, the first Pakistani women in the role, will assist the IOC in the development and implementation of its women and sports policy. In an interview to DawnNews over the telephone on Tuesday, she said it was a matter of great joy for her. "I will represent Pakistan in the Olympics arena and will raise my voice for Pakistani sports in the Olympics Committee," she said. "The Olympics are a big platform and Pakistan should focus on them on priority basis so that our athletes, swimmers, boxers and other players can excel." "It's not only me or Malala Yousafzai: every woman in Pakistan has a story of courage to tell. I believe that we can bring Pakistan out of the darkness if all women work together. I appreciate all those women who work for Pakistan," she added. Quoting Jinnah, she said nations cannot progress until and unless their women work with their men shoulder to shoulder. The squash player also appealed to men to support their mothers, sisters and daughters at each and every point, because the country is going through a transformative phase. "We will not be able to come out of darkness if we miss the chance today. We will have to support our women on both the national and the international level," she added. "Coming [Read More…]

Mar 302017
Four doping Russians snared in IOC crackdown

LAUSANNE: Four more Russian competitors were snared on Thursday in the International Olympic Committee’s targeted drive to root out doping at the Games, the IOC said. The quartet had their doping samples from the London 2012 Olympics reanalysed — the IOC has been using new technology to retest samples from 2012 and the 2008 Beijing Games and has caught dozens of drug cheats. The four have all been retroactively disqualified from the London Games. The IOC named the Russians as: weightlifter Khadzhimurat Akkaev, 31; Mariia Bespalova, 30, who came 11th in the hammer; Gulfiya Khanafeeva, 34, 16th in the hammer; and triple jumper Victoria Valyukevich, 34, who was eighth in the event. All four took the banned steroid turinabol. The IOC has reanalysed 1,545 samples from the London and Beijing Games and caught more than 100 drug cheats as a result.