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In keeping with the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s continued support of the athletes and fledgling sports movement of South Sudan, the IOC Executive Board today agreed to provide an additional place at the 2nd Summer Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing in 2014 for one South Sudanese athlete in athletics. This decision was taken with the full support of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
A promising young runner has been nominated by the South Sudanese sporting authorities and, like all athletes attending the YOG, will have their transport, accommodation and other expenses covered by the IOC. As South Sudan does not yet have a National Olympic Committee, the athlete will participate in the YOG as an Independent Olympic Athlete under the Olympic flag. The Nanjing YOG will run from 16 to 28 August.
The decision follows the historic agreement signed by IOC President Thomas Bach and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in March aimed at strengthening collaboration between the two organisations at the highest level on a range of projects around the world, with the goal of building peace and bringing about social change.
The agreement is already having a positive effect in South Sudan. During a meeting at the end of May between the IOC President, the Sudanese NOC and representatives of the South Sudan sporting movement, which the IOC is currently helping to set up its own NOC, the South Sudanese said they were able to contact local UN representatives on the ground in South Sudan to work on sport and development projects.
In parallel, the IOC has started to work with the South Sudanese sporting authorities, the NOC of Sudan, International Federations and training centres in the region to identify and assist athletes from South Sudan with the potential to qualify for the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016.