IOC President Jacques Rogge received an honorary degree from the Academic Council of the National Sports Academy. (Velko Angelov/AFP/Getty Images)
IOC Chief Supports Bulgaria's YOG Bid
IOC President Jacques Rogge backs Bulgaria's plans to bid for the 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games, saying it has a good chance of success.
Speaking Tuesday on a two-day visit to the capital Sofia, Rogge insisted Bulgaria was in a strong position to bid because “the infrastructure requirements are less than for Olympic Games.”
He expressed satisfaction with Sofia's infrastructure to support a winter YOG; the bid process for the 2016 YOG is not expected to open for at least two years. Innsbruck, Austria will hold the first winter edition in 2012.
Rogge met Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov, Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev, Sofia's Mayor Boyko Borisov and NOC President Stefka Kostadinova on his visit. He attended celebrations Monday night to mark the 85th anniversary of the Bulgarian Olympic Committee.
Stanishev said the government would do anything to support Sofia's application to host the YOG, according to Bulgarian media reports.
Borisov confirmed Monday that the city would bid to stage the 2016 YOG after holding discussions with Rogge about the development of sports in Bulgaria. Sofia has failed in three attempts to host the Winter Olympics - in 1992, 1994 and 2014.
“Sofia’s candidature is in the interest of the Balkans as a whole, which until now has been seen as a region of war and destruction,” Borisov was quoted by AFP. “Sofia can offer excellent conditions and if it wins the bid, we’ll further improve our infrastructure.”
Also on his visit, Rogge met Bulgarian sports legend and two-time Olympic champion Boyan Radev who appealed for the IOC chief to help develop sport in his country.
And at a special ceremony an honoris causa degree was conferred on Rogge by the 37-member Academic Council of the National Sports Academy. The ceremony was reportedly attended by Olympic champion Rumyana Neykova, Bulgarian NOC President Kostadinova, the chair of the State Agency for Sports and Youth, Vesela Lecheva, along with many former athletes.
In a speech on education and sports, Rogge spoke about the importance of encouraging physical activity among the younger generation amid rising obesity levels across Europe and the world.
“We have to protect sport from dangers lurking around, such as doping, violence and corruption,” he added, in quotes reported by Bulgaria's Focus Information Agency. “[The] sports community should be united so that it can fight them successfully. We have to continue fostering the spirit of fair play in sports.”
ANOCA Executives Meet this Week
Executives of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) are meeting this week to discuss several issues, most notably the date of the elections for officers.
Up for grabs this year is the empty position of secretary general, which has been empty since Angolan Gustavo Conceicao stepped down in November. Reports say there is a desire to fill the slot quickly, however ANOCA rules mandate that six months notice must be given before elections can be held.
Complicating matters even more is that the current crop of executives was elected at the June 2005 meeting,
Syed Arif Hasan said the Pakistan Olympic Association would focus on developing youth athletes during 2009. (Getty Images)
meaning they should be voted on in June.
Pakistan to Focus on Youth in 2009
The president of the Pakistan Olympic Association said the focus for 2009 would be on youth athletes.
Speaking to the media after the POA's general council meeting, Syed Arif Hasan said it was incumbent upon the POA to support the youth, as they are the future of Pakistani sports.
"What is important is that we maintain our push towards progress and that is only possible by focusing on youth and providing it as many opportunities as can be rustled up to contest at the international level" Hasan was quoted as saying in Pakistan’s the Nation
newspaper. "[T]here has been progress, and in our youth we see the promise to deliver much more. That is why despite paucity of resources we have decided to send our athletes to five multi-nation events in 2009.
"There is consensus of opinion between the POA and the federations that continuous exposure of our youth in five events through the year, culminating in the South Asian Games, would help them improve standards and medal yield in the regional showpiece."
When asked about the failure to win any medals in Beijing, Arif said, "We never were a truly world class sporting nation, and that is reflected in our winning just two individual bronze in our Olympic history spanning 60 years."
With reporting from Mark Bissonand Ed Hula III.
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