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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

refugee athletes with no Nation allowed to participate in Rio Olympics 2016

The Olympic Games need no introduction… the game held once in four years attracts thousands of athletes.  There are the Summer and Winter Olympics – the 22nd Winter Olympics,   was  held in Sochi, Russia.  In 2016, will be the Summer Olympics.

Russian star pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva said that she plans to retire after the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, where she has her sights sets on a third Olympic gold. "If everything goes as planned, I will be in a new role next year," Isinbayeva told journalists at a meeting of the world's Olympic associations in Moscow. "I won't say in which role for the time being."  The 33-year-old Olympian had announced her retirement after winning the 2013 IAAF world championships in Moscow to give birth to her daughter. But the three-time Olympic medallist later announced she would come out of retirement if she had a chance at winning gold in Rio.

The 2016 Summer Olympics  officially -  Games of the XXXI Olympiad, are the thirty-first Summer Olympic Games, the world's largest international multi-sport event that is held every four years.  It will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  The selection of the host was announced at the 121st  IOC Session held in Copenhagen, Denmark, in  2009. Rio will become the first South American city to host the Summer Olympics, the second city in Latin America to host the event after Mexico City in 1968, and the first since 2000 to be held in the Southern Hemisphere.

The games will take place in  August 2016 and more than 10,500 athletes from 206 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) will take part in this sporting event. The games will feature 28 sports — including rugby sevens and golf, which were added by the International Olympic Committee in 2009.  These sporting events will take place across 33 venues spread across 4 regions of the city namely – Barra, Copacabana, Deodoro, and Maracanã.

The latest sports update is that top refugee athletes with no home country to represent will be allowed to compete at the 2016 Rio Games, the International Olympic Committee president, Thomas Bach, said on Monday at the United Nations General Assembly.  A resolution, which was supported by 180 out of the 193 UN member states, calls for the Olympic Truce to be respected from seven days before the start of the 5-21 August Olympic Games until seven days after the 7-18 September Paralympic Games.

“The Olympic Games are the time when the values of tolerance, solidarity and peace are brought to life,” Bach said. “This is the time when the international community comes together for peaceful competition. “In the Olympic Village we see tolerance and solidarity in their purest form. Athletes from all 206 National Olympic Committees live together in harmony and without any kind of discrimination. “At present none of these athletes would have the chance to participate in the Olympic Games even if qualified from the sports point of view because, with their refugee status, they are left without a home country and National Olympic Committee to represent.

“Having no national team to belong to, having no flag to march behind, having no national anthem to be played, these refugee athletes will be welcomed to the Olympic Games with the Olympic flag and with the Olympic anthem. “They will have a home together with all the other 11,000 athletes from 206 National Olympic Committees in the Olympic Village.”

As one could recall, around 10,700 athletes from 205 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) took part in the London Olympics.  Three athletes from the Netherlands Antilles Olympic Committee, which the IOC Executive Committee had ceased to recognise at the IOC session of July 2011, and one athlete from South Sudan, which has no recognized NOC, participated independently under the Olympic flag.

Sadly at Sochi Winter Olympics, Hamara Bharat had the  ignominy of three of its athletes marching  without the national flag during the opening ceremony.   With the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) suspended by the International Olympic Committee(IOC) due to ethical and administrative reasons,  the 3 athletes participating from India walked behind the IOC flag, as we hung our heads in shame.  The IOA was suspended by the IOC in December, 2012 due to its failure to comply with the Olympic charter and that resulted in Indian athletes, including boxers, participating in events under the flag of world body.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

27th Oct 2015.

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