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Olympics15 Jul 2021

Bangladesh National Mohammad Yunus to receive Olympic Laurel
SPORTS DESK ISLAMABAD (July 15, 2021):-Social entrepreneur, economist, civil society leader and Nobel Peace Prize awardee Mohammad Yunus of Bangladesh will become the second recipient of the Olympic Laurel. He will officially receive the trophy during the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on 23 July 2021. The distinction was created by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to honour outstanding individuals for their achievements in education, culture, development and peace through sport. Professor Mohammad Yunus, who is often referred to as the “world’s banker to the poor”, receives the Olympic Laurel award for his extensive work in sport for development, including founding the Yunus Sports Hub, a global social business network that creates solutions through sport. He has in collaborated with the IOC on several projects, including educational elements of the IOC Young Leaders Programme, the “Imagine” Peace Youth Camp and the Athlete365 Business Accelerator – the first comprehensive entrepreneurship programme to help Olympians with career transition. IOC President Thomas Bach said: “With the Olympic Laurel, we take forward the vision of Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder and reviver of the modern Olympic Games. It is also a reflection of the ideals and values of the ancient Olympic Games, with a focus on human development through peace and sport.” He continued: “The work of Professor Yunus is exemplary for these ideals and values. He shares his wealth of knowledge generously with the athletes and the Olympic community. He is a great inspiration for all of us. He helps athletes in their post-sport career development to become socially responsible entrepreneurs and shares our vision of how sport can contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. In particular, with Paris 2024, he is helping to build a new model for the Olympic Games with minimum impact for the planet and maximum impact for legacy for the people of the host country. We are very thankful for all he is doing for the Olympic community.” Professor Yunus said: “The Olympic Games and sport have the most convening power in the world. The Olympic Games unite the entire world in peaceful competition, celebrating unity in diversity. North and South Korean athletes marching together in the Parade of Nations at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 was a powerful reminder of the immense potential of peace through sport. The Olympic Truce takes forward the vision of building a better world based on fair competition, peace, humanity and reconciliation. “We can use this power to change the world in the most effective ways. Sport has the power to transform lives by galvanising the world, and social business can be the most efficient tool to unleash this power. “Sport is natural to all human beings. It brings all human strengths and emotions into play, irrespective of differences. That gives it enormous power. I urge that we channel this power for achieving social goals and peace.” The Olympic Laurel recipient for 2020 was selected by a distinguished judging panel representing all five continents: world-renowned Japanese film director Naomi Kawase for Asia; eminent scientist and then-Governor General of Canada Julie Payette for the Americas; Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka of South Africa, for Africa; Secretary General of the Pacific Island Forum Secretariat and Papua New Guinean politician Dame Meg Taylor for Oceania; IOC Honorary President Jacques Rogge for Europe; and IOC President Thomas Bach, who presided over the jury.  Jury member Kawase said: “The Olympic Laurel is conferred upon outstanding individuals who help build a better world, using the power of sport to harness change and positivity. You will see that this year’s recipient is internationally recognised for relentless work in the empowerment and upliftment of disadvantaged sections of society.” Born in 1940 in the seaport city of Chittagong, Professor Yunus studied at Dhaka University in Bangladesh, then received a Fulbright scholarship to study economics at Vanderbilt University. He received his PhD in economics in 1969 and joined Middle Tennessee State University, where he taught until he returned to Bangladesh in 1972. Professor Yunus is the recipient of numerous international awards for his ideas and endeavours and is a member of the board of the United Nations Foundation. In 2006, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for founding Grameen Bank, which pioneered the concepts of microcredit and microfinance for people living in poverty. The first ever Olympic Laurel was awarded to the Kenyan Olympian and social changemaker Kip Keino on 5 August 2016, during the Opening Ceremony of the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro. Initiated for Rio 2016, the Olympic Laurel is to be awarded at the opening ceremony of each summer edition of the Olympic Games. Symbolising the connection with the ancient Olympic Games, the base of the trophy is a replica of a stone from the site of Olympia, Greece. The creation of the Olympic Laurel was one of the initiatives that emerged from recommendation 26 of Olympic Agenda 2020, the strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement, to further strengthen the blending of sport and culture.

Olympics12 May 2021

SPORTS DESK ISLAMABAD (May 12, 2021):-With under three months to go to the Olympic Games Tokyo, the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) has announced new broadcasting agreements with four partners. The new deals will see an increase in coverage of IFSC competitions. With an eye to increasing the digital footprint of IFSC competitions, in China has acquired exclusive digital rights with a commitment to broadcast all IFSC competitions live or delayed for the 2021 and 2022 seasons in the territory of China. The deal also includes non-exclusive rights for the 2021 World Championships and the IFSC events taking place in China. As one of the biggest sports-only digital platforms in China, continues to develop digital partnerships worldwide and the agreement with the IFSC adds another leading International Federation to its growing list of clients. Commenting on the new broadcast partnerships, IFSC President Marco Scolaris said: “With live sport returning to the global sporting calendar, we have seen increased demand for rights to show our competitions and we are delighted to welcome these partners to the IFSC for the 2021 season. We are confident that these partnerships will provide climbing fans around the world a more comprehensive offering of our events. I would like to extend our gratitude to all our Member Federations and local organisers, for their outstanding, tireless work; and to our athletes, who are always able to compete at the highest level, despite the many difficulties.”

Olympics20 Mar 2021

IOC respects Japanese decision on overseas spectators
SPORTS DESK ISLAMABAD (March 20, 2020):-The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) were today (Saturday) informed by the Japanese parties in the five-party meeting about their conclusion regarding overseas spectators at the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 this summer. For the reason of the safety of every Games participant and the Japanese people, their conclusion is fully respected and accepted by the IOC and the IPC. During the meeting, the IOC and the IPC were informed that, as outlined in the full statement by Tokyo 2020, the conclusion of the Japanese parties is not to allow entry into Japan for overseas spectators for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 due to the prevailing worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. Olympic and Paralympic Games tickets purchased by overseas residents from the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee will be refunded. “We share the disappointment of all enthusiastic Olympic fans from around the world, and of course the families and friends of the athletes, who were planning to come to the Games,” said IOC President Thomas Bach. “For this I am truly sorry. We know that this is a great sacrifice for everybody. We have said from the very beginning of this pandemic that it will require sacrifices. “But we have also said that the first principle is safety. Every decision has to respect the principle of safety first. I know that our Japanese partners and friends did not reach this conclusion lightly. Together with them, the IOC’s top priority was, is and remains to organise safe Olympic and Paralympic Games for everyone: all the participants and, of course, our gracious hosts, the Japanese people. We stand shoulder-to-shoulder at the side of our Japanese partners and friends, without any kind of reservation, to make the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 a great success. “Together with our Rights-Holding Broadcasters, we will make every effort so that the fans from around the world will be able to experience the Olympic spirit. In this way, the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be the light at the end of the tunnel and a safe manifestation of peace, solidarity and the resilience of humankind in overcoming the pandemic.”

Olympics31 Dec 2020

IOC Honorary Member Walther Tröger passes away
SPORTS DESK ISLAMABAD (December 31, 2020):-It is with great sadness that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has learnt of the death of Walther Tröger, IOC Honorary Member, at the age of 91. In addition to his invaluable contribution to the Olympic Movement internationally, Tröger’s remarkable career as a sports administrator was marked by his successful commitment to shaping sport in Germany for several decades. Holding a degree in law from the University of Erlangen, he started in 1953 as Secretary General of the German Student Sports Association, before joining the German Sports Confederation (1961-1970) and the National Olympic Committee (NOC), where he served as Secretary General between 1970 and 1992, and as President for 10 years until 2002. During those years, Tröger also served as 1st Vice-President of the German Basketball Federation (1976-2006) and as a member of the FIBA Sports Commission (1964-1994). He was also a member of the Executive Board, then Deputy Chairman of the German Sports Aid Foundation (1992-2002) and Chairman of the German Sports and Olympic Museum and of the Board of Directors of the Willi Daume Foundation. Tröger’s achievements were not limited to Germany alone. An avid sports fan – he practised handball, athletics, basketball, tennis and skiing – he served as IOC Sports Director between 1983 and 1990, before becoming an IOC Member in 1989 and an Honorary Member in 2010. IOC President Thomas Bach said: “Walther Tröger made a great contribution to the IOC, first as its Sports Director, then as a Member and lately as an Honorary Member. I got to know him as a person with a great passion for sport and an immense knowledge about the Olympic Movement already when we met for the first time in the 1970s, when he was Secretary General of the NOC and I was an athlete. In all his activities over the many years, Walther Tröger worked tirelessly in the administration of sport and made a major impact on the development of German and international sport.” Tröger’s career was punctuated by 27 editions of the Olympic Games as a sports official. He was notably Chef de Mission at the Olympic Winter Games eight times between 1976 and 2002. During the Olympic Games Munich 1972, his role as Mayor of the Olympic Village led him to be involved in the negotiations with the terrorist group that took Israeli athletes hostage. Throughout his IOC membership, he was involved in numerous commissions, such as the Sport for all Commission, of which he was successively Director, Chairman and an honorary member; the Olympic Programme Commission (1971-1994); and the Olympic Solidarity Commission (1985-1989). He also played a part in the success of several Olympic Games as a member of the Coordination Commission for the XVIII Olympic Winter Games in Nagano in 1998 (1992-1998), the Coordination Commission for the XIX Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City in 2002 (1996-2002), and the Evaluation Commission for the XX Olympic Winter Games in 2006 (1998-1999). Since 2015 he had been an Honorary Member of the Sport and Active Society Commission. Tröger received a number of distinctions during the course of his career. He received in particular the Commander’s Cross of the German Order of Merit, the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland, and the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the French Republic. In 2009, he was also awarded the Olympic Order, the Olympic Movement’s highest distinction. The IOC expresses its deepest sympathies to Walther Tröger’s family. As a mark of respect for him, the Olympic flag will be flown at half-mast at the IOC Headquarters for three days.

Olympics26 Oct 2020

IOC President Thomas Bach receives Seoul Peace Prize
SPORTS DESK ISLAMABAD (October 26, 2020):-International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach received the prestigious Seoul Peace Prize on Monday. President Bach joined the ceremony virtually from Lausanne, with the award collected on his behalf by the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, His Excellency Ban Ki-moon. Presenting the award, Seoul Peace Prize Cultural Foundation Chairman Yeom Jae-ho said: “IOC President Thomas Bach is a man who carries the mission of the Olympic spirit to achieve peace through sport; an example who truly lives what he teaches.” He went on: “President Bach has promoted friendship and harmony around the world. He has greatly contributed to resolving conflict and division in many regions through the practice of sport. In doing so, he has proven himself to be a great Olympic champion who dedicates himself to peace.” In particular, the Foundation highlighted three major achievements: - “Contributing to peace through sport in the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia”, with the 2018 Winter Olympics “serving not only as an Olympic symbol of peace, but also as a stepping stone for peace”. - “President Bach has continuously supported refugees through the creation of the Refugee Olympic Team and the Olympic Refuge Foundation. He contributed to promoting the human rights of refugees by raising global awareness of refugee issues and renewing the world’s perspective on refuges.” - “President Bach led the internal reforms of the IOC through Olympic Agenda 2020. This roadmap also contributed to peace and cooperation among states.” In his acceptance speech, President Bach told the audience: “The purpose of the Olympic Games was always to promote peace through sport. When Pierre de Coubertin founded the International Olympic Committee in 1894, he was supported in this mission by the presence of six future winners of the Nobel Peace Prize.” He went on to say that, since then, the IOC had pursued this mission, but “like other peace movements, the Olympic Movement has sometimes fallen short. In our efforts to build a more peaceful world through sport, sometimes we have failed, and have been failed”. President Bach emphasised that, while sport can open the door to dialogue about peace, “we know very well that sport alone cannot create peace”. He added: “We cannot take decisions on war and peace. This is the realm of politics and not of sport.” The role of the Olympic Games, with regard to peace, is to “set an example for a world where everyone respects the same rules and one another. They can inspire us to solve problems in friendship and solidarity. They can build bridges leading to better understanding among people.” To achieve this universal message of peace, the IOC is promoting worldwide solidarity and inclusivity, and embraces diversity as an enrichment to society. Turning to the IOC Refugee Olympic Team and the Olympic Refuge Foundation, President Bach said: “The refugee athletes demonstrated to a global audience that we are all part of the same humanity. Their participation in the Olympic Games was a clear signal that refugees are our fellow human beings – that they are an enrichment to society just as they are an enrichment to our Olympic community.” On governance reforms, President Bach emphasised that “our ability to make a difference in the world rests on our credibility and integrity. For this reason, good governance is a central feature of Olympic Agenda 2020”. The Seoul Peace Prize comes with a USD 200,000 prize which the President will donate to the Olympic Refuge Foundation and three other social charities. The award has had a number of illustrious previous winners, including Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations; Václav Havel, former Czech President; Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF); German Chancellor Angela Merkel; and Ban Ki-moon, former Secretary-General of the United Nations. Speaking after the award, President Bach emphasised: “This prize belongs to the entire International Olympic Committee and all of the Olympic Movement. Without their tireless work and all the support of so many from all around the world, these achievements for peace through sport could never have been accomplished.” Congratulating President Bach, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea, Chung Sye-kyun, said: “President Bach played a fundamental role in transforming the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 into the Peace Olympics, putting them beyond all political tensions as a symbol of hope.” Collecting the award on behalf of President Bach, the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, His Excellency Ban Ki-moon, highlighted the creation of the first Refugee Olympic Team at the Olympic Games Rio 2016: “It was an unprecedented and monumental event in modern Olympic history. I still vividly remember the cheers as the Refugee Team entered the stadium. It was a truly inspiring moment.”

Olympics30 Sep 2020

Sustainability and legacy at the core of Milano Cortina 2026
SPORTS DESK ISLAMABAD:-The first International Olympic Committee (IOC) Coordination Commission meeting with Milano Cortina 2026 was held virtually today, 29 September 2020. The local Organising Committee updated the Commission members on its considerable progress since winning the right to host the Olympic Winter Games last year and its desire to deliver sustainable Games with a strong legacy in the spirit of Olympic Agenda 2020 and its New Norm. IOC President Thomas Bach welcomed the members of the Commission, which is chaired by Sari Essayah. They were joined by Milano Cortina 2026 and Italian National Olympic Committee President Giovanni Malagò and Milano Cortina 2026 CEO Vincenzo Novari. The Commission heard from representatives of the Organising Committee founders, including the President of the Italian Paralympic Committee, Luca Pancalli; Mayor of Milan Giuseppe Sala; Mayor of Cortina Gianpietro Ghedina; and President of the Lombardy Region Attilio Fontana; while an address was also delivered on behalf of the President of the Veneto Region, Luca Zaia. The representative of the Italian Government, Valerio Toniolo; the President of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano, Arno Kompatscher; and the President of the Autonomous Province of Trento, Maurizio Fugatti, also addressed the Commission. Speaking after the meeting, Essayah said: “Milano Cortina 2026 has made considerable progress despite the challenges posed by COVID-19. The integration of Olympic Agenda 2020 and the New Norm into the project, particularly around the use of existing venues, will provide a sustainable legacy for both international sport and local communities within Italy. We are only at the beginning of our journey and, while there are still many key decisions to be taken, I hope that these Games will be held up as an example for future Olympic Winter Games.” She continued: “The Olympic Movement is unified in supporting the Organising Committee to realise its ambition to deliver a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will leave behind a legacy for generations of Italians to enjoy. The solid foundations that Milano Cortina 2026 has built are testament to the cooperation and collaboration of the Olympic and local stakeholders which shows that we truly are stronger together.” Following this, Milano Cortina 2026 President Giovanni Malagò said: “I am delighted to welcome IOC President Thomas Bach and the Milano Cortina 2026 Coordination Commission, brilliantly chaired by Sari Essayah. I am deeply grateful for their words and the continual support they provide towards our efforts. This was our first meeting, albeit virtual, after being awarded the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games at the IOC Session. Along with the staff headed by Vincenzo Novari, during these difficult months we have been working to shape the Organising Committee and these Italian Games through an innovative and sustainable approach. We are aware of the many important challenges yet to come, but we are ready to face them as a team, with the IOC and the Milano Cortina 2026 stakeholders, in order to deliver an unforgettable edition of the Games.” One of the major milestones praised by the Coordination Commission was the adoption, by the Italian Parliament, of an Olympic Law which dictates the organisation and governance of Milano Cortina 2026. The Commission also heard about the development of Milano Cortina 2026 staffing, with over 50 employees now working for the organisation, many of whom hold existing expertise in winter sports events. This topic gave the Organising Committee an opportunity to detail its planned staffing model, which will see the core Organising Committee team consist of around 600 people, with four decentralised departments established to focus on Governance, Games Delivery, Digital and Revenues. In addition, the development of Milano Cortina 2026’s Games vision was covered. This underpins its strategy right up until Games time, revolving around its desire to “Make all Italians fall in love with the Games and winter sports, and the world to fall in love with Italy”. The Commission heard that a fundamental component of the local Organising Committee’s strategy is sustainability, in terms of economic, environmental and social sustainability. Milano Cortina 2026 explained that its Games will represent a stimulus for its economy, working towards creating new opportunities and long-term employment. Milano Cortina 2026’s legacy plans were also detailed as it looks to leave future generations with arenas, mobility infrastructure and assets for tourism that are all financially sustainable. The Organising Committee is focused on increasing inclusion, spreading the Olympic values across the country, promoting healthy lifestyles thanks to the practice of sport, and providing the territories with stronger major events management expertise. Another key topic was the venue masterplan. On this point, the IOC Coordination Commission highlighted the ongoing efforts of the Working Group, established by the IOC Executive Board earlier this year. This group, which is looking into the sustainability and legacy of the sliding centre and the speedskating oval, consists of the Organising Committee, the local authorities and the International Federations concerned. Its work builds on the concerns raised about those two venues by the Evaluation Commission last year.

Olympics25 Sep 2020

IOC and Tokyo 2020 agree on measures to deliver Games fit for a post-corona world
SPORTS DESK: ISLAMABAD (September 25, 2020):-The IOC Coordination Commission and the Tokyo  2020 Organising Committee agreed today, 25 September, on a series of measures to make the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 fit for a post-corona world. Developed in response to the postponement of this year’s Games due to the coronavirus pandemic, over 50 measures have been designed to maximise cost savings and increase efficiencies in Games delivery. In his opening remarks to the meeting participants, IOC President Thomas Bach acknowledged the outstanding progress being made by Tokyo 2020, reinforcing his belief that next year’s Olympic Games will be the best prepared ever. He also emphasised that the coming months will require flexibility and creativity from everyone involved as the Tokyo organisers deliver Games fit for a post-corona world. In doing so, the IOC President offered his gratitude to all stakeholders, who are fully aligned with the measures being envisaged. Today’s meeting provided the Coordination Commission with the opportunity to review the current list of measures, with more opportunities to be identified in the lead-up to the Games. These have been split into four main categories: stakeholders; infrastructure; promotion; and other areas of interest. Examples of the initial measures include the reduction of stakeholder personnel attending the Games, streamlining transport services, adjusting spectator activities at competition venues and hosting a number of pre-Games meetings online. Speaking after the meeting, Tokyo 2020 Coordination Commission Chair John Coates said: “Built from the principles outlined by the Joint IOC and Tokyo 2020 Steering Committee, these optimisations and simplifications mark an important step towards delivering a safe and successful Games in 2021. We owe it to the public to enact these measures during these challenging times, that’s why we’ve left no stone unturned and will continue to look for further opportunities over the coming months. The unique task of reorganising an Olympic Games has called for the Olympic Movement to be stronger together – this milestone illustrates our collective commitment. The ‘Tokyo Model’ will not only deliver a Games fit for a post-corona world, it will become a blueprint that will benefit future Organising Committees for many years to come.” Tokyo 2020 President Mori Yoshiro added: “Considering the current state of the world, we have been discussing how we will be able to deliver a safe and secure Games that can win public understanding in these challenging times. After we established a broader direction that the Games in 2021 should be simplified, we have been working closely together with the IOC, the IPC and various stakeholders such as IFs, NOCs, NPCs, partners and broadcasters, in every possible area that can contribute to simplifications. This process will benefit future society – becoming a role model for future global events as people adapt to living in the new normal. We will make all efforts to ensure that in the future the Tokyo 2020 Games will be a legacy. We will continue to work hard on simplifications towards next year and ask for the continued cooperation of all those involved in the Games.” The measures were developed with support from the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), Tokyo 2020, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) and the Government of Japan. Important input was also obtained from key Olympic stakeholder groups, including National Olympic and Paralympic Committees, International Federations, Rights-Holding Broadcasters, media and TOP Partners. With these measures now agreed, Tokyo 2020 will start estimating the provisional cost-savings that can be achieved, with a view to providing an update at the IOC Executive Board meeting in October. COVID-19 Countermeasures The IOC Coordination Commission also received an update on COVID-19 countermeasure planning. This detailed how the IOC, together with Tokyo 2020 and the All Partners Task Force, which includes the World Health Organization (WHO), the IPC, the Government of Japan and the TMG, with input from experts in relevant areas, have reviewed a range of scenarios. These consider the situation in Japan and globally, illustrating potential scenarios that could be in effect during the Games next year. This strategic approach has been crucial to identifying possible countermeasures necessary to protect the health of all Games participants. It will also help build a framework for operational planning. The possible countermeasures have been grouped into seven areas: travel/country access; physical distancing; personal protective equipment/cleaning; food and beverage; testing/tracking/isolating; information provision and vaccines. As part of this process, the close cooperation between the IOC, International Federations and other event organisers was highlighted. This has provided vital input into an ongoing review of the best practices and key learnings taken from the resumption of sporting events in Japan and around the world. Looking ahead, the Commission acknowledged that as countermeasures are further developed and reviewed, important discussions will continue to be conducted on a stakeholder-journey based approach, with a focus on athletes, Games-related personnel and spectators. These preparations will continue to evolve in line with the monitoring of the global situation and its impact on Games preparations.