Kuwait welcomed back to Asian Games with OCA warning


JAKARTA: Kuwait’s delegation parades during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Asian Games at the Gelora Bung Karno main stadium yesterday. – AFP

JAKARTA: Kuwait was warned by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) yesterday to stop its “world record” of government interference in sport or face being exiled for a third time. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) this week provisionally lifted its ban on Kuwait, allowing the state’s athletes to march under their own flag at Saturday’s Asian Games opening ceremony in Jakarta. But the IOC said that despite its “gesture of goodwill” the reasons for its original suspension remained valid.

“This is a world record for government interference in the Olympic movement, no country is like this,” OCA director general Husain Al-Musallam told AFP after an executive board meeting discussed the matter in Jakarta yesterday. “We are very happy for the Kuwait National Olympic Committee and for the athletes,” he said. “We hope this will not happen in the future and the Kuwait government will respect the road map they have agreed with the IOC to lead to fresh, clean, transparent and democratic elections based on each sport’s statutes approved by their respective international bodies.”

World sports bodies led by the IOC and FIFA suspended Kuwait in Oct 2015 for a second time since 2010 for political interference in sport. The IOC said that in reinstating Kuwait provisionally that it “acknowledged the progress” and the “positive discussions with the government of Kuwait”. Musallam said Kuwait did not have much time to prove it was trying to meet IOC requirements. “We are going to review the situation with the IOC on October 3 and 4 to see if any of the agreement has been implemented on the ground, or if there is nothing,” said Musallam. “We really hope this thing will be finished.” – AFP

This article was published on 18/08/2018