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18 Nov 2015
IOC News

Statement from IOC Athletes’ Commission Chair Claudia Bokel on protecting Kuwaiti athletes

“The IOC Athletes’ Commission has learnt with dismay about attempts by the Kuwaiti authorities to prevent athletes from taking part in national and international sporting events, including qualifiers for the Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro 2016.

As clearly emphasised in Olympic Agenda 2020, the IOC’s strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement, the athletes are at the heart of the Olympic Movement, and protecting them is of utmost importance. It was never the IOC’s intention to penalise the athletes in Kuwait when it suspended the Kuwaiti Olympic Committee on 27 October. The decision was rather a response aimed at safeguarding the Olympic Movement in Kuwait and protecting the athletes from undue government interference.

In the past, the IOC and its Athletes’ Commission have worked together to ensure that athletes in similar situations were able to train and compete as normal and, in cases where athletes qualified for the Olympic Games, could compete under the Olympic flag. We remain committed to supporting all the athletes of Kuwait, individually and collectively, to make sure that they are as little affected as possible by the suspension of the Kuwait Olympic Committee.

We condemn in the strongest terms any attempt by the Kuwaiti authorities to prevent the athletes from achieving their full potential, which of course includes qualifying for the Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro 2016.”

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