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Olympic Highlights

11 Apr 2016
Olympic News



© IOC / Christophe Moratal

IOC President Thomas Bach met the President of the Organising Committee for the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 (POCOG), Cho Yang-ho. The excellent cooperation in preparations for the Games between the IOC, through its Coordination Commission, and POCOG and the success of the first tests events were mentioned during the meeting. The Korean Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Kim Jongdeok was also part of the Korean delegation. President Bach was accompanied by the Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission, IOC Executive Board Member, Gunilla Lindberg.

A meeting was also held with IOC Member Habu Gumel, who is also an Executive Board Member of the Association of the National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA), and with whom the President addressed various issues linked to the Olympic Games Rio 2016 and Olympic Agenda 2020.

IOC Honorary Member Kipchoge Keino, who is also President of the Kenyan NOC, has given the IOC President news on Kenyan athletes’ preparations for the Olympic Games Rio 2016 as well as other African athletes who are training together in his training centre. The participation of refugee athletes in these Games who are currently living in the Kakuma camp in Kenya was discussed. Measures taken by the Kenyan government in the fight against doping and the protection of the clean athletes were also discussed.

The President met IOC Member Ser Miang Ng, accompanied by Gordon Tang, President of the Singapore Windsurfing Association.

The IOC President met a delegation from the Swiss Federal Tribunal, led by its President Gilbert Kolly, and accompanied by members from the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation, on a visit to The Olympic Museum. In his welcome address, the President spoke about “the unique role of sport in society as the only form of human activity that has ‘universal law’. Wherever we are in the world and regardless of who practices sport, the rules are the same for everyone everywhere”.


Speaking after the resignation of Ole Einar Bjørndalen as an IOC Member following his decision to continue with his biathlon career, the IOC President declared: “We agree with this move by Ole Einar. It was the correct decision since his sporting commitments did not allow him to carry out his function as an IOC Member in the way he wanted to. We will stay in contact, and we wish him all the best in his athletic career.” The IOC President previously released the 13-time Olympic medallist from his duties with the IOC until the end of the Biathlon World Championships in Oslo last month.


The IOC concluded a successful two-day workshop with the Candidate Cities 2024, dedicated to the Olympic Village, the International Broadcast Centre (IBC) and the Main Press Centre (MPC). Representatives from the four Candidate Cities vying to host the Olympic Games in 2024 – Los Angeles (United States), Rome (Italy), Budapest (Hungary) and Paris (France) (cities listed are listed in the order of drawing lots) – took part in the meetings at the headquarters of Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) in Madrid on 6 and 7 April. The workshops complemented those organised last November as part of Stage 1 of the Candidature Process, which focuses on Vision, Games Concept and Strategy. The Olympic Village and the IBC/MPC are two specific areas where the Candidate Cities requested further information in order to find optimal, cost-effective technical solutions best suited to meeting the long-term needs of the city while developing their Olympic projects. Full press release here.

On the occasion of the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP), celebrated on 6 April, the IOC highlighted three outstanding projects in India/Pakistan, Rwanda and Brazil that perfectly illustrate how sport unites people and promotes a culture of peace, builds trust and self-confidence, and establishes bridges between groups in conflict. Every day, everywhere around the world, sport is used as a tool to improve education, improve health, promote social inclusion, promote gender equality and foster peace.

For the International Day of Sport for the Development and Peace, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wrote a message in which he urged “governments, organisations, businesses, and all actors in society to harness the values and power of sport to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. By working – and playing – together, we can create the future we want.” (Full message here.)

Similarly, in his a traditional remarks at the General Audience on St Peter’s Square, Pope Francis invited the 40,000 people gathered together to celebrate the International Day of Sport for the Development of Peace. He said: “Sport is a universal language that brings together peoples, and can help persons meet and overcome conflicts. Therefore I encourage you to live the sporting dimension as the gym of virtue in the full development of individuals and communities”.



The Badminton World Federation (BWF) celebrated the International Day of Sport for the Development of Peace, which coincided with the first round of the Malaysian Open. Info. at

The International Boxing Association (AIBA) has informed us that, from 9 to 17 April, some 233 male and 59 female boxers representing 39 European countries will fight to win one of 36 places (30 for the men, 6 for the women) at the Olympic Games Rio 2016. The European Olympic Qualification Event will be held over 10 days in Samsun (Turkey). In addition, with 50 days to go until the Women’s World Boxing Championships, scheduled for 19 to 27 May in Astana, the medals, the official mascot (Maya) and website for the Championships were recently unveiled at a ceremony in the Kazakh capital. Info. at

On 6 April, the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, the International Association Football Federation (FIFA) highlighted the daily work of hundreds of organisations that its Football for Hope initiative supports across the world. HIV/AIDS education, conflict resolution, gender equality, the integration of people with intellectual disabilities into society, peace- building, youth leadership and life skills are some of the many social development objectives pursued by the global Football for Hope network. Full press release on

On the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) looked at how hockey is being used as a tool to promote peace and well-being within communities. In an article published on its website, the FIH reported on several community projects around the world. For example, in Haiti, the organisation of hockey tournaments by the IOC's Sport for Hope Centre; in West Africa, the Targeted Assisted Programme (TAP); and in Asia, the Hockey Village India project. Work and activities in Oceania (Vanuatu and Solomon Islands) and in Europe (Portugal and Turkey) were also described. Info. at

The Olympic Swimming Test Event, doubling up as the Brazilian National Championships, will be held from 15 to 20 April in Rio in the Olympic Aquatics Stadium. This competition will precede the last test event in International Swimming Federation (FINA) disciplines, the Olympic Water Polo Test Event, to be held from 26 to 29 April. Info. at

For the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) posted news and photos on its social network channels, showing its support for the Day on 6 April. Info. at

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has announced the release of the anthem “A Racket In Hand”, celebrating the 40th anniversary of wheelchair tennis. Written and performed by British songwriter Alexander Joseph, and also featuring vocals from wheelchair tennis player Jordanne Whiley, this anthem can be downloaded and the profits will go to the ITF Wheelchair Tennis Development Fund. This Fund was created in 2002, and aims to establish wheelchair tennis programmes in developing countries by, among other things, providing equipment and expertise. Info. at

The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) celebrated their World Table Tennis Day on 6 April. The ITTF chose Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal to host the main event of this Day, as it coincided with the launch of the “Table Tennis for NepALL” project. The aim of the project is to develop table tennis practice among those with a disability in Nepal. On this same occasion, the new para table tennis training centre, which had been renovated following the earthquake last year, was inaugurated; and the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace was celebrated. Those present included ITTF President Thomas Weikert; Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace Wilfried Lemke; the Co-chair of the International Sport and Persons with Disabilities Working Group, Young Sam Ma; and athlete role model Melissa Tapper (photo above), the first ever Australian player to qualify for both the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games at Rio 2016. Info. at

The 2016 edition of the World Sailing Annual Conference and General Assembly will be held from 4 to 13 November in Barcelona (Spain). Over 500 delegates representing World Sailing’s Member National Authorities, Committees, Sub-committees, Commissions, Class Associations, sailors, event organisers, etc. took part in the previous edition held in Sanya (People’s Republic of China). In Barcelona, 700 delegates are expected. Info. at


© Albanian NOC

Thanks to an initiative led by the Albanian NOC and the Sports for all Commission, around 30 physical education teachers were invited to Olympia, birthplace of the ancient Olympic Games. Welcomed by the staff members of the International Olympic Academy (IOA), where they stayed for three days, the teachers had the opportunity to discover and enjoy this place dedicated to sport and education. On the agenda were a presentation of the IOA, the “Athens 2004” exhibition and a visit to the museum and archaeological site of Olympia (photo above). The teachers also took the opportunity to play basketball, tennis and table tennis on the Academy’s premises. Info. at

From 31 March to 3 April, Algiers hosted the 10th edition of the Africa International Sports Convention (CISA), organised by Events Sport Management Consulting in collaboration with the Algerian NOC. Several activities, including a seminar for Africa sports journalists, were also on the programme of the 2016 edition of the CISA, which addressed themes including the organisation of major sports events in Africa, sport in African economies, and the fight against doping. On this occasion, athletes Noureddine Morceli (Algeria, right in photo above) and Derartu Tulu (Ethiopia), as well as Ghanaian technician Charles Kumi Gyamfi and Ethiopian official Ydnekatchew Tessema (posthumously), were inducted into the African Sports Hall of Fame. NOC President Mustapha Berraf was awarded a trophy for his contribution to the development of sport. Info. at

More entries have been approved for the Third School Mini Olympics, scheduled to take place from 21 April to 5 May and organised by the Bahrain Olympic Committee in cooperation with the Ministry of Education. Twenty-four schools in total, including 16 government and 18 private schools and 2,500 students, will be taking part in 10 sports disciplines. The School Mini Olympics aims to promote the concept of public health and create a competitive sports environment among students, disseminating knowledge and physical education among the younger generation, along with the Olympic values and ideals.

© Bangladesh Olympic Committee

The Bangladesh Olympic Association (BOA) organised the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace in Dhaka. A flag-hoisting ceremony was held at the BOA headquarters, with the hoisting of the flags of the country, the United Nations, the IOC, the Olympic Council of Asia and the NOC. Also at the headquarters, a seminar discussed the importance of the Day and how to disseminate its spirit to every part of society. Mahfuzur Rahman Siddique, National Course Director and Honorary Director of the National Olympic Academy, delivered the keynote speech in the presence of Syed Shahed Reza, NOC Secretary General, and Edward Rees, Peace and Development Advisor at the UN Office in Dhaka. Info. at

© Chilean NOC

It was with the “Desafío Levantemos Chile” [“Let’s get moving, Chile” challenge] Foundation that the Chilean NOC celebrated the 2016 International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. Over 120 children from disadvantaged areas were thus able to practise sport free of charge in the NOC’s facilities (photo above). The Day was also celebrated by pupils in the schools in the capital, Santiago. Info. at

From 6 to 9 April, the Colombian NOC organised numerous academic activities in Bogotá and Cali. Thus the NOC’s Olympic Chair was presented to over 100 students at the Área Andina University. A talk on the Olympic Movement was given in the presence of NOC President Baltazar Medina. The Colombian Olympic Academy met under the chairmanship of Germán Anzola. The Colombian Olympic museum project was at the heart of the discussions between the NOC President and the Director of the Colombian National Museum, Daniel Castro. Lastly, the (GOLD) sports administration course, a model of economic management, was held at the National School of Sport. Info at

In the framework of celebrating the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, the Costa Rican NOC inaugurated its own gym, which will be made available free of charge to the country’s athletes. NOC President Henry Núñez Nájera unveiled a commemorative plaque and cut a ribbon to officially open the new facilities, in the presence of 18 Costa Rican athletes currently aiming to qualify for the Olympic Games Rio 2016. This facility was partly financed by the Pan-American Sports Organisation (PASO), and will be open to the sports federations and associations in Costa Rica. Info. at

© Georgian NOC

In early March, a media seminar was held in the Borjomi region at the initiative of Georgian NOC and with the support of the European Olympic Committees. The seminar aimed to present the history of the Olympic Movement and Olympic Games, media regulations during the Olympic Games and other key issues on the role of the media in sport. The seminar was officially opened by the NOC President, Leri Khabelov, accompanied by Olympic champion Shota Khabareli. The participants also took part in a special quiz with various questions on major Olympic figures and facts. Certificates were awarded to each participant (photo above). Info. at

© Hellenic Olympic Committee

The Olympic flame-lighting and handover ceremonies for the Olympic Games Rio 2016 were presented during a press conference held at the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens. The participants included the President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee, Spyros Capralos, the Chairman of the Olympic Torch Relay Commission, Giannis Karras, and the Choreographer of both ceremonies, Artemis Ignatiou, as well as High Priestess Katerina Lehou (photo above). The lighting ceremony will be held on 21 April in Olympia and the handover ceremony on 27 April at the Panathenaic Stadium. The support programme for the Hellenic Olympic Team, “HELLAS YOU CAN DO IT”, was also presented on this occasion. Info at

© Nepal Olympic Committee

On the occasion of the 3rd International Sport for Development and Peace Day, a tree-planting programme was organised on the premises of the Nepal Olympic Committee by Wilfried Lemke, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace, together with NOC President Jeevan Ram Shrestha. NOC General Secretary Lama Tendi Sherpa, NOC Vice-President Purendra Bikram Lakhe, Nepal Table Tennis Association President Chaturananda Vaidhya and NOC Executive Members Samim Miya Anshari, Ramesh Kumar Shrestha, Nilendra Raj Shrestha and Ashok Bajracharya were also present. Info. at

We have just learnt that Women’s Day was celebrated by the Women and Sport Commission of the NOC of Togo on 19 March at the OlympAfrica Centre in Lome (photo above). Several sports activities were on offer for the participants, such as a gymnastics lesson, tug of war, skipping rope, sack races. Songs and dances were also on the programme as well as a presentation by a nutritionist about the benefits of sport and a healthy diet. The Chair of the Women and Sport Commission, Kopdzo Olga and the NOC Secretary General, Etienne Kouami Degboe, also addressed the participants.

The Turkish NOC also responded to the IOC’s call to celebrate the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace on 6 April. Several communications were published on the various social networks of the NOC: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Info. at

© Venezuelan NOC

The 7th “Morochito Rodríguez” awards ceremony was held at the Venezuelan NOC headquarters in the presence of Secretary General Elida Párraga de Álvarez (photo above). Organised by the “Boxing Idols” Foundation and paying homage to the first Venezuelan Olympic champion at the Olympic Games Mexico City 1968, Francisco Morochito Rodríguez, this ceremony honoured athletes Roger Gutiérrez, Rigoberto Marcano, Ismael Barroso, Yoel Finol, Tayoni Cedeño, Jorge Linares and Mayerlin Rivas.


The Executive Council of the Association of the National Olympic Committees (ANOC), chaired by IOC Member Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, has expressed its complete support for the IOC President and the Rio 2016 Organising Committee as it looks forward with optimism to the months ahead, which will see NOCs make their final preparations for the Games. The ANOC Executive Council met at the ANOC headquarters (photo above) and also received progress reports from the ANOC Commissions and Working Groups as it looks to continue to develop reforms and initiatives for the benefit of the NOCs and the Olympic Movement. Info at

To mark the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, the President of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA), IOC Honorary Member Lassana Palenfo, published a message to all those in the African Olympic and Sports Movement. In the message, he underlined that “6 April will therefore be once again a suitable opportunity for Africa to recognise the impact of sport in building sustainable development and peace… and also to show that it is a source of personal development and that it plays a determining role in removing multifaceted barriers,” before adding that “6 April will also be an opportunity to promote the contribution of sport the emergence of Africa. Sport, placed at the service of education, development and peace, can encourage cooperation, solidarity, tolerance, understanding, social inclusion and health at national and continental levels.”

On the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, the Chair and Founder of Generations for Peace, IOC Member Prince Feisal Al Hussein, published a message on “sport for peaceful coexistence in refugee host communities”, recognising the unique role sport can play in strengthening resilience and social cohesion in the world’s most fragile communities. He also underlined that, through the various programmes undertaken by Generations for Peace, “we have seen the transformative power of sport as an innovative tool to engage meaningful youth participation in building peace”. Read the full message here.

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