Amir, Crown Prince hail move – KOC chief calls on sportspeople to work sincerely

PARIS: Kuwait has been cleared to compete in the 2020 Olympics after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced on Friday it was lifting the suspension it imposed on the Kuwait Olympic Committee (KOC) four years ago. In a statement, the IOC said the KOC had successfully implemented “a roadmap agreed between all parties”. The announcement comes less than a week after Sheikh Fahd Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah was elected President of the KOC. This was the third and final step in the roadmap which also required revision and adoption of new statutes for sports clubs and federations, followed by elections.
HH the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah praised Friday HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah for his “relentless” efforts to reaffirm Kuwait’s status at the international level. HH the Crown Prince, in a cable to HH the Amir to congratulate him after IOC permanently lifted the ban on Kuwait sport, described the end of the ban as “very good news for every Kuwaiti”. The Crown Prince prayed to Allah the Almighty to bestow his blessings upon Kuwait.


HH the Amir thanked HH the Crown Prince and said the lifting of the ban brought joy for all Kuwaiti people. HH the Amir commended the relentless efforts of the legislative and executive authorities, the ministry of state for youth and the Public Authority for Sport which contributed to the permanent lifting of the ban. HH the Amir, in a cable to HH the Crown Prince, hoped the lifting of the ban would pave the way for sport achievements at regional and international levels.


Kuwait was suspended in Oct 2015 following “undue government interference after a sports law that was not compatible with the basic principles that govern the Olympic Movement was passed in the country”. The new law had threatened the autonomy of the KOC and all other national federations while also meaning the country would no longer comply with the Court of Arbitration for Sport or the World Anti-Doping Agency.


Minister of Information and Minister of State for Youth Affairs Mohammad Al-Jabri said the move to lift the ban came after years during which “damage was inflicted in all factors of Kuwaiti sports”. Speaker of the National Assembly Marzouq Al-Ghanem tweeted: “Congratulations to every Kuwaiti, and to the athletes in particular… and a thousand thanks to all those who worked to achieve this goal.”


Last August, the IOC acknowledged the progress made and provisionally lifted the suspension, a decision which enabled athletes to compete in the Asian Games and the Youth Olympics. Football’s world governing body FIFA suspended the Kuwait Football Association for the same reason in October 2015, lifting the ban in Dec 2017.


KOC President Sheikh Fahd called on Kuwait’s sportspeople to work hard and sincerely to put Kuwaiti sport on the world map. In a press statement on Friday, Sheikh Fahd congratulated HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah, HH the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf, HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah and the sports fraternity in Kuwait on the occasion of the announcement by IOC to lift the immediate and total suspension of Kuwaiti sport. Sheikh Fahd thanked all those who worked and contributed to lifting the suspension of Kuwaiti sports, praising the efforts of the Cabinet, National Assembly, Public Authority for Sport, sports associations and the media.


IOC President Thomas Bach informed KOC about the news in a letter to newly-elected Sheikh Fahd. In his letter, Bach extended his sincerest congratulations to Sheikh Fahd on his election as KOC president. The IOC president also assured the new leadership of KOC that IOC will be fully at their disposal to support and assist KOC in performing its mission and daily activities, including the preparation of a successful participation in the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020.


Reacting to the letter received from Bach, Sheikh Fahd said “on behalf of the Kuwait Olympic Committee, I would like to thank the IOC for their support in helping us to make the necessary changes to rejoin the Olympic family and best serve the Olympic Movement in Kuwait”. “I, as president, and my board of directors, have made it clear that we have a new vision for our future and we are committed to acting in the best interests of Kuwaiti sport and our athletes,” he added. The Kuwait Olympic Committee will now initiate the development of an overall strategy for the organization including high-performance and sports participation planning. – Agencies