Iraq is in. Iraq will send athletes to the Summer Olympics in Beijing.
Iraqi sprinter Dana Abdul-Razzaq stretches during a training session at al-Shaab National Stadium in Baghdad March 18, 2008. Few athletes will have overcome the obstacles 21-year-old Abdul-Razzaq has faced to reach Beijing, from a sniper’s bullets to a paucity of adequate training facilities and religious and cultural opposition to female athletes. Picture taken March 18, 2008. (Reuters)
Two Iraqi athletes will be representing Iraq in the Olympic Games this year in Beijing.
The IOC lifted its ridiculous ban on the Iraqi athletes earlier today.
The Washington Post reported:
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Two Iraqi athletes will be allowed to participate in the Beijing Olympics after a last-minute pledge by the Iraqi government Tuesday not to interfere politically in the country’s Olympic movement.
The agreement reversed a decision last week by the International Olympic Committee to ban Iraq from competing because of allegations that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had compromised the independence of the national Olympic committee. The government dissolved the panel in May and replaced it with a new group headed by a cabinet minister.
But after negotiations between Iraqi officials and the international committee at its headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, the government agreed to reestablish an independent committee and hold transparent elections for it by November, Olympic officials said. They added that five government representatives could attend the Beijing Games as observers.
“We look forward to seeing the Iraqi flag in Beijing,” the president of the international committee, Jacques Rogge, said in a statement.
Part of the conflict that was resolved today– The IOC wanted the original Iraqi committee members to represent the team. But, 4 members were kidnapped two years ago and have not been seen since that time.
Of course, the IOC never banned Iraq when the Saddam was in power and his sons were torturing the Iraqi athletes.
In 1984, when Uday was 20, Saddam handed his son the reins of both the country’s Olympic committee and its soccer federation. Uday had ordered the hand of a security officer at his Olympic headquarters to be chopped off five years earlier, after the man was accused of stealing sports equipment that was missing (but later turned up).