In one of my earlier posts, Iraq drops soccer team, I described the sad situation involving the dissolution of the Iraqi Soccer team and the Olympic team’s ban by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). With the Olympics right around the corner, the IOC has decided to reverse its ban on the Iraqi Olympic team (seven members), and give them an opportunity to participate in Beijing.
The decision followed buzzer-beating talks between Iraqi officials and the IOC before this Wednesday’s deadline to submit competitors’ names for track and field events. However, only two of those seven are eligible to sign up to participate in their chosen sport.
The two Iraqi athletes going to Beijing will compete in track and field. The verdict came too late for five athletes in archery, rowing, judo and weightlifting. The deadline to submit names for those sports expired last week.
Iraq’s government spokesman, Ali al-Dabbagh told The Associated Press, “We want to forget all the past,” after signing the agreement at a news conference. “We want to have real representation for the Iraqi teams and the Iraqi supporters.”
My previous post describes the situations that led to the Iraqi Olympic Team’s ban from Olympic competition. Corruption and accusations of corruption were the main reasons, and as you can see from Ali al-Dabbagh’s statements, Iraq seems to be learning from its past mistakes and changing.
The government spokesman also said that, in the meantime, an interim committee proposed by its national sports federation and approved by the IOC would run Iraq’s Olympic organization. For the complete article, read this link from Sports Illustrated’s Beijing 2008 Olympics section.