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Kuwait’s hosting of three events a source of pride: Sheikh Fahad Autonomy of national Olympic bodies crucial: IOC chief

KUWAIT CITY, March 31, (KUNA): The head of both the Association of National Olympic Associations and the Olympic Council of Asia Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah said that Kuwait’s hosting of three Olympic meetings at the same time is a “source of national pride”. The three meetings are being organised by ANOC, but are being held at the OCA headquarters in Kuwait amid the attendance of International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach. These meetings include “a conference designed to prepare lawyers and officials to ply their trade at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), and this has resulted in enabling 55 West Asian officials so far,” Sheikh Ahmad told reporters following a press conference held to welcome the arrival of the IOC chief.

The second meeting is that of the Olympic Solidarity Committee, which operates under the umbrella if the IOC and is responsible for supporting national Olympic committees and their athletes, through scholarships in their discipline. As for the third meeting, ANOC will hold its 63rd executive office meeting, and this includes a number of sub-committee meetings dealing with the body’s various functions and planned upcoming events. In conclusion, Sheikh Ahmad said he was thankful for the presence of so many senior Olympic officials at the talks, including Bach, expressing hope they would result in decisions that serve the Olympic movement worldwide.

In related story, the autonomy of national Olympic bodies from government authority is crucial in applying the rules that govern sports, said President of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach on Sunday. Bach made the remark during a joint press conference with President of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah on a visit aimed at discussing cooperation between the two Olympic bodies. “This is what we are doing to establish rules. Whoever wants to be a part of the Olympic movement has to comply (with the Olympic Charter),” he said, noting, in context, that local laws however they may differ from nation to nation do apply. ANOC, which was established in 1979 and is based in Lausanne, aims to build a bridge of communication between 205 national Olympic member federations and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) among other global organisations, and Bach is in Kuwait to discuss some of these aspects. Kuwait and other countries had similarly suffered brief suspensions which were lifted after amending their own domestic sports laws according to the Olympic Charter, and Bach said this was the case for “everybody worldwide”, when asked whether or not these rules were being applied fairly.
In addition to its role, ANOC had also proposed launching the World Beach Games, in collaboration with sports organisation SportAccord, as an Olympic event that follows in the footsteps of the Summer and Winter Olympics, and this has been welcomed by the IOC. The event was discussed in a working group as part of the series of three-day meetings in Kuwait, and Bach said that the result of these talks will be carried to international sports federations followed by the IOC, who will decide the tournament’s date. The proposal itself was made by Sheikh Ahmad, who also heads the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), which is the only regional Olympic confederation that holds the event, the first of which was held in 2008 and continues to be held every two years.
ANOC has also proposed an annual award for best Olympic athlete, and the IOC chief said that this was would have a positive effect on Olympic athlete performance. “There is good cooperation between ANOC and IOC ... and this cooperation was from the very beginning,” he said, referring to the two proposals. For his part, Sheikh Ahmad welcomed Bach to his homeland and thanked the IOC chief for his efforts on supporting cooperation with ANOC. “ANOC is committed to working under the umbrella of the IOC and is happy to be a part of the Olympic movement,” he added. Sheikh Ahmad also stressed the importance of the IOC mechanism based on autonomy, noting that this serves securing Olympic principles and its charter.

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