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Olympic highlights of the week of 07 April 2014

2014-04-08 14:07:00 IOC


From 29 March to 2 April, IOC President Thomas Bach was travelling around the Persian Gulf.

The IOC delegation with the Emir of Kuwait

During his first stop, in Kuwait, President Bach was received by the Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. During their meeting in the Bayan Palace in Kuwait City, the two leaders, accompanied by Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, discussed various sports-related issues. The Emir emphasized the power of sport to "educate and bring people together and to build bridges." President Bach, who was accompanied by IOC Vice-President Nawal El Moutawakel and IOC member the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, congratulated the Emir and told him that sport in the country "was in good hands."

On the same day, the IOC President took part in a joint press conference at the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) headquarters with IOC member, OCA President and Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah. On the following day, 31 March, he attended a meeting of the Olympic Solidarity Commission and the 63rd ANOC Executive Council meeting.

President Bach with the Emir of Qatar

From Kuwait, President Bach travelled to Qatar, where he was received by the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, who is also an IOC member and President of the NOC. During this meeting at the Royal Palace in Doha, at which Vice-President Nawal El Moutawakel was also present, the two men discussed the vital role sport plays in society and the Olympic Agenda 2020. President Bach appreciated the many initiatives of Qatar Olympic Committee in particular Olympic School Day combining sport and education and the National Sports Day as well as the state-of-the-art Anti-Doping laboratory. The Emir outlined various measures of improvements regarding the labour laws in his country.

The President’s programme also featured several meetings with Qatari sports leaders, including NOC Secretary General Sheikh Saoud Bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, the NOC Executive Committee members and national sports federation presidents, plus a visit to the Qatar Olympic Academy building and the Anti-Doping laboratory.

President Bach with Prince Abdulaziz

On 2 April, President Bach ended his Persian Gulf trip with an informal visit to Saudi Arabia. There, the President met IOC member and NOC President Prince Nawaf Faisal Fahd Bin Abdulaziz. The two men discussed various issues relating to the future development of sport and presented a strategy for sports development in the Kingdom until the year 2020. President Bach promised full support for the plan, which also included proposals to increase women’s participation in the Olympic Games and in sport in general.

Upon his return to Lausanne, President Bach received Armando Mariotta, the President of the International Ski Mountaineering Federation (ISMF).

Nat Indrapana has received an honorary doctorate in sports science from Burapha University, one of Thailand’s biggest universities, in recognition of his contribution and commitment to promoting physical education and sport among young people. He was awarded the doctorate by Princess Mahachakri Sirinthorn, who was presiding over the ceremony on behalf of the King of Thailand.

As the IOC’s Permanent Observer at the United Nations, on 4 April Mario Pescante took part in a round table discussion on the values and use of sport as a vector of social change. Organised in Geneva by the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP), in collaboration with the Group of Friends of Sport for Development and Peace, this two-day discussion took place two days before the celebration of the first International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (see also under “Other News” below).

On 29 March, Nawal El Moutawakel was presented with the insignia of the Egyptian Sport and Youth Ministry by Minister Khaled Abdelaziz, for her example to other women and her exceptional action in the field of sport. At the award ceremony in Cairo, Nawal El Moutawakel talked about her career as a champion, sports administrator and IOC member.

International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Philip Craven has been made an Officer of the Legion of Honour by French President François Hollande, in recognition of his work for the IPC, which he has led since 2001; his role as an IOC member; and his contribution to the success of the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. He was presented with this distinction by the Grand Chancellor of the Legion of Honour, Jean-Louis Georgelin, at a ceremony at the French embassy in London on 28 March.

On 1 April, the IOC President announced the composition of the IOC commissions for 2014, with an increase in female members (+23 per cent) and a much broader geographical representation. There will now be two more commissions chaired by women and 22 more positions held by women in 2014 than in 2013 (female representation from Africa increased by 50 per cent), and a significant overall increase in the representation of members from Africa and Oceania.

On 4 April, President Bach announced the composition of the Boards of Olympic Broadcasting Services SA (OBS) and the Olympic Museum Foundation.

The IOC Coordination Commission for the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing has just paid its fifth and final visit to the city, and believes that Nanjing is ready to welcome the world’s best young athletes. In the words of Commission Chair Alexander Popov, “There is a real buzz here in Nanjing that the Youth Olympic Games are coming soon. The team here is so passionate about creating the ultimate experience not only for the athletes, but also for young people from across China and overseas.”

From 2 to 4 April, the Executive of the IOC Coordination Commission for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games made its first official visit to the Japanese capital. Led by Commission Chair John Coates, the IOC delegation included Vice-Chair Alex Gilady, Olympic Games Executive Director Gilbert Felli and Deputy Olympic Games Executive Director Christophe Dubi. During this first Project Review, the IOC delegation met Minister in charge of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games and Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Hakubun Shimomura, Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe, as well as the members of the new Tokyo 2020 Executive Board, including President Yoshiro Mori, Director General and CEO Toshiro Muto and Vice-President Tsunekazu Takeda, who is also an IOC member. At the end of the visit, John Coates said: “We have been very impressed with what we have seen this week during our visit. The current level of planning; the venue layout; the involvement and integration of the Government authorities at all levels; and the experience and diversity of the new Executive Board all leave us confident in Tokyo’s ability to deliver great Games for the athletes in 2020.”

The Olympic Solidarity Commission, which is chaired by Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, met in Kuwait City on 31 March.

The IOC has just launched a new online educational platform for athletes, known as the IOC Athlete MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). Developed in collaboration with a number of IOC commissions, including the Athletes’ and Entourage commissions, this platform offers free, engaging, educational content to a worldwide athlete audience.

On Sunday 6 April, the IOC will be celebrating the first UN International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. Creating a historical link to the first modern Olympic Games on 6 April 1896, this new annual event is an occasion to celebrate and promote sport as an innovative and effective tool for positive societal and individual change across the world. It also provides a notable platform to call for action, and advocate greater investment in sport, recreational and sports infrastructure, as well as quality physical education. 

In the framework of its new “Athletics Better World” (ABW) project, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) will be supporting the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. ABW is a new programme that will harness the extraordinary commitment and energy of the worldwide athletics family to inspire lasting change, and will be launched officially by IAAF President Lamine Diack on 8 April at SportAccord in Belek (Turkey).

The World Rowing Federation (FISA) has received approval from the IOC and the IPC for rowing’s new qualification systems for the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. To increase female participation and achieve greater universality, FISA has changed the number of boats allocated in each of the 14 Olympic boat classes, reducing the number of boats in some of the men’s events.

The official mascots of the 16th FINA World Championships 2015 in Kazan (Russian Federation) were unveiled on 27 March in the capital of Tatarstan by FINA President Julio C. Maglione (second from right in photo), FINA Executive Director Cornel Marculescu (far left) and Director General of the Kazan 2015 Organising Committee Azat Kadyrov (third from right in photo). The mascots are two snow leopards, Itil (boy) and Alsu (girl). The 16th World Championships will be held from 24 July to 9 August 2015.

1 April marked the International Triathlon Union (ITU)’s 25th anniversary, and a wide variety of events and projects will be taking place this year at ITU events worldwide to mark the occasion. Details on www.triathlon.org and the ITU’s Facebook page and Twitter accounts.

The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) has appointed International Race Officer John Craig to the new position of Head of the ISAF Sailing World Cup. This appointment comes as the ISAF confirms its plans for the Sailing World Cup, the annual circuit of Olympic sailing for elite and professional sailors. 

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