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27 Feb 2004
IOC News

Suspension of the Iraqi NOC lifted!

The Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) today lifted the suspension imposed on the Iraqi National Olympic Committee (NOC) on 17 May 2003. Thanks to the hard work and efforts of the IOC, and the excellent cooperation enjoyed between the IOC and the Interim Committee to Administer Sport in Iraq (ITCAS), the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), it has taken only nine months to rebuild the structure of the Iraqi Olympic Movement, and in particular the NOC, in compliance with the Olympic Charter. Iraqi athletes will therefore enter the Olympic Stadium in Athens under their NOC flag on 13 August 2004.

Nine months to rebuild the NOC
The IOC has supported this reconstruction process. Two preparatory missions were carried out in the country before the Constituent General Assembly of the NOC could take place in January 2004. This was made possible as the National Federations of sports on the Olympic programme had been re-established in the meantime, or were in an advanced stage of re-establishment (football).

Reconstitution on 29 January 2004
The Constituent General Assembly held under the auspices of the IOC took place on 29 January 2004 in the city of Al-Sulaymaniyah, Iraq. The Assembly adopted the new statutes of the NOC and elected the members of its Executive Board, including the NOC President, Ahmed Abdul Ghafoor Al-Samarrai, and Secretary General, Amir A. Jabbar, who is also President of the Iraqi Volleyball Federation.

Iraqi athletes prepare for Athens
In the meantime, a number of Iraqi athletes have been identified as the most likely to qualify for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, mainly in athletics, swimming, boxing, weightlifting, wrestling and taekwondo. The IOC is involved in efforts to enable these athletes to pursue their preparations.

202 National Olympic Committees: record number!
The lifting of the suspension of the Iraqi NOC brings the number of NOCs to 202. This is the highest number of NOCs ever recorded in the Olympic Movement. The growth in the number of NOCs is spectacular. In 1980 the number stood at 144 recognised NOCs; by 1990, the Movement had 163 NOCs, and this figure reached 200 for the first time in 1998.
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