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  • SportAccord Briefs -- Security Issues in Beijing, London, Singapore Present


    06/05/08

    IOC Coordination Commission for Beijing chair Hein Verbruggen told the International Federations that they may face increased security at the Games. (ATR)  
    Security and Visa Issues in Beijing

    Hein Verbruggen, chairman of IOC Coordination Commission for Beijing, warns the 28 summer Olympic sports federations to expect heightened security measures in Beijing in the aftermath of the troubled international torch relay.

    The Chinese authorities have intensified their security efforts after anti-China protests marred the torch's trek through London, Paris and San Francisco in April.

    Addressing the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations general assembly, Verbruggen said this had impacted on the visa procedures, which were "not as smooth as they used to be".

    Some federations are worried that visa applications for their guests attending the opening and closing ceremonies will be affected.

    "We have had a lot of complaints about visas and have given that a lot of attention. They have promised us it is being discussed at the highest level to make the whole procedure easier," he said.

    While praising BOCOG for its preparations, Verbruggen claimed quick decisions would have to be made at Games-time, which was a challenge for the Chinese and could also test the patience of federations.

    He called for their understanding on issues which may arise, saying: “The solution of potential issues might take time to solve. The decision-making process is not the same as in the West.

    "The importance of the Games for the Chinese is incredible and it is for them a party that has to succeed and I'm sure it will."
     
    In his report to the assembly, BOCOG's sports director and vice-president Yang Sh'uan told members that preparations for Beijing are going well.

    He said all of the 564 full-time staff in the competition management team and the 4614 sports volunteers were ready to welcome federations at the Games. Yang also thanked the federations for their support following the Sichuan earthquake, offering assurances that the Olympics “will not be affected in any single way".

    London On the Right Track

    Paul Deighton, chief executive of London 2012, told ASOIF members that the city's preparations were ahead of schedule, including construction work on venues and the fundraising drive to secure private sector finance for LOCOG's $4 billion operational budget.

    "What used to be a desolate wasteland is now a very well organized building site," he said of the Olympic Park in east London where construction of the 80,000-seat Olympic Stadium started May 22.

    Deighton's report came just two weeks after the IOC London 2012 coordination commission led by Denis Oswald had given the city a glowing review following its three-day inspection visit.

    LOCOG's sports director Debbie Jevans gave an overview of the 2012 venues, saying that London would follow BOCOG in holding a comprehensive set of test events.

    A test event team is being established with a draft schedule to be published by the end of the year, she said. The first test events are scheduled for July to August 2010.

    Jevans told the assembly that 24 of 26 competition managers for each of the sports on the London 2012 program had been appointed. Six of them will start full-time within the next year.
    Around 150 LOCOG officials, including competition managers, will be part of London's observer program in Beijing.

    Federations Close to WADA Compliance

    All of the summer Olympic sports are expected to be fully compliant with the World Anti-Doping Agency's revised code by November, according to Craig Reedie, a member of WADA's executive committee.

    Reedie, IOC member from Great Britain, told ASOIF members that he was “pretty confident” the federations would achieve complete compliance when WADA conducts its check on IFs, national Olympic committees and national anti-doping organizations.

    In his report, Reedie said six of the winter Olympic sports were also in good shape
    But he added that there were issues to be discussed with 13 IOC Recognized Federations.

    Reedie also raised concerns about 40 NOCs, saying WADA had a "real issue" in making sure they become compliant.

    One of the significant challenges for federations and NOCs is to develop out-of-competition testing programs and Reedie encouraged federations to deliver such systems "rather than relying on the WADA program to fill in the holes".
     
    WADA director general David Howman told the assembly that its athlete's passport was now available for use by federations.

    Howman indicated that WADA was devoting energies to improving the anti-doping testing regimes of the smaller federations so tests
    Singapore 2010's Goh Kee Nguan speaks at SportAccord. (ATR)  
    could be conducted with "less fuss, less cost and more efficiency".

    Singapore Advances Plans for Youth Olympics

    Representatives of the organizing committee for the 2010 Singapore Youth Olympic Games spoke about their preparations for the inaugural YOG in their first appearance before ASOIF.

    Brigadier-General (NS) Goh Kee Nguan, CEO of the organizers, and Ser Miang, IOC member from Singapore, underlined the compact nature of the city-state's venue plan and the benefits and global reach of its sports, education and culture program.

    Each NOC is allowed to send a maximum of 70 athletes to compete in the YOG. In all, 3,500 athletes aged 14 to 18 will participate in 26 sports at the Games.

    "Singapore is ready to blaze the trail together with the IOC, creating a new global event, embracing Olympic ideals and enriching them," Goh said.

    Gilbert Felli, the Olympic Games executive director, told ASOIF members that there were many question marks over a number of issues and asked for the understanding of federations in helping to resolve them.

    Managing the qualification systems for athletes are among the issues facing federations.

    Playing Mind Games

    The International Mind Sports Association held a news conference at SportAccord to outline plans for its 1st World Mind Sports Games, taking place Oct. 3 to 18 in Beijing.

    The Games, which has the slogan 'Smart Games for smart people', includes competitions in five mind sports: chess, bridge, draughts, go and xiang qui.

    The Games is organized under the patronage of the General Association of International Sports Federations.

    More than 3,000 players from over 100 countries will participate in 15 days of competition at the National Convention Center Complex in the Chinese capital. Thirty-five gold medals will be up for grabs.

    "Through this event we can really show to the world that mind sports
    Jose Damiani, president of the IMSA. (ATR)  
    are very important to education," said Jose Damiani, president of the IMSA and of the World Bridge Federation.

    Asked if competitors would be subject to doping controls, he said that bridge and chess were IOC Recognized Federations who had signed up to the WADA Code and would therefore be subject to the agency's anti-doping regulations.

    With reporting from Athens by Mark Bisson

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