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16 Mar 2016
IOC News

A timely visit to Morocco for the IOC President

IOC President Thomas Bach ended his four-day visit to North Africa yesterday, in Rabat. Accompanied by IOC Vice-President Nawal El Moutawakel and IOC Honorary Member and Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) President General Lassana Palenfo, President Bach attended the Moroccan National Olympic Committee (CNOM) Executive Board meeting, which was chaired by CNOM President Housni Benslimane. A meeting with the national Olympic sports federations was also held. 
Discussions on the agenda included the preparation of Moroccan athletes for the Olympic Games Rio 2016 and the need to protect the clean athletes, as well as the programmes developed by the NOC to promote the Olympic values among the country’s young people. 

IOC/Greg Martin

These themes were also addressed in the morning with the Moroccan Head of Government, Abdelilah Benkirane, during a cordial and fruitful exchange. The IOC President was informed about the implementation of a law aiming to strengthen the fight against doping on a national level.

“I welcome this initiative by the government”, said President Bach. “It is a very important step in protecting clean Moroccan athletes, and is a strong signal on an international level, with only a few months to go before the Olympic Games Rio 2016. It takes only one medal won by a doped athlete to tarnish the reputation of all the other medals won cleanly by the other members of a team”, he added. 

IOC/Greg Martin

It was also agreed during these discussions that a meeting will be held soon in Lausanne between the IOC, the CNOM and the Moroccan government to establish a road map for the development of sport in Morocco in compliance with the rules of good governance and the Olympic Charter. It is expected that these discussions will be held in mutual respect of the autonomy of sport and of state sovereignty. It is thanks to this mutual respect that sport is able to promote its values of integration, respect and peace, with full independence and neutrality. 

IOC/Greg Martin

The IOC delegation then visited the sports complex of the Royal Moroccan Equestrian Federation, whose President is Sharif Moulay Abdallah Alaoui , followed by a visit to the National Horse Institute, where he met young trainee interns. 

Without a doubt, the highlight of the visit was meeting the young Moroccan athletes training at the Prince Moulay Rachid National Sports Centre. The IOC President was particularly keen to meet the young talents preparing for the Olympic Games Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020. During lively and positive exchanges, the youngsters were eager to share their expectations and hopes with the President, who was able to assess the quality of the facilities made available to the Moroccan sporting elite. Morocco hopes to send a team of some 50 athletes to Rio this summer. 

IOC/Greg Martin

Asked several times about Africa’s chances of hosting the Olympic Games one day, the IOC President said that an African candidature would be welcome. General Palenfo also confirmed that the ANOCA Executive Committee looked favourably on a future candidature from the African continent. 

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