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  • New Games on Agenda for NOCs Meeting -- On the Scene


    Sheikh Ahmad (ATR)
    For the first time in the organization’s history, the Association of National Olympic Committees will have a full range of commission meetings.

    The commissions will meet on Saturday before the ANOC Executive Board meets March 31. The sheikh described the meeting as “another step on our road map.” Since taking over the umbrella body for the world’s 204 NOCs, Ahmad has launched an ambitious overhaul of the organization, seeking to increase its dynamism and professionalism.

    An indication of the importance of this weekend’s meetings: IOC president Thomas Bach will head to Kuwait on Sunday, and Marius Vizer, president of SportAccord, the ruling body for international sport federations, is also planning to attend.

    In an exclusive, wide-ranging interview with Around the Rings, Ahmad said the timing of ANOC’s changes with the IOC president’s Agenda 2020 proposal that would bring changes to the IOC is more than coincidental.

    “I think we are a generation,” he said. “Although Dr. Bach, our president, he has a vision for the IOC and the movement, and I am here and SportAccord and [the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations] a new generation will take over. They want to continue what the founder and former presidents have done.

    “We always have to develop.”

    Ahmad will chair the commission tasked with determining the direction of ANOC’s events. There will be a proposed beach games, awards dinner and gala. The sport event would be the first organized under the authority of ANOC.

    This weekend, the commission will “think loudly” about the future, Ahmad said.

    With an already busy sporting calendar, Ahmad said there is value for a beach games.

    ANOC is looking closely at Rio in anticipation of the 2016 Games. (Getty Images)
    “These games are not related to any other games on the calendar,” he said.

    On Monday, Olympic Solidarity, the organization that disburses Olympic revenues to NOCs, will meet in Kuwait. Ahmad leads that organization as well, and will continue to discuss its changing role within the Olympic Movement. Ahmad said some of the changes to OS include extending the period of time scholarships are awarded to athletes and granting loans to financially-strapped NOCs.

    Looking ahead to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Ahmad said there is “very good understanding” between the organizing committee and NOCs. Part of that will come when Rio hosts the ANOC General Assembly, giving each NOC a chance to see how the Olympics will look for themselves.

    Ahmad responded to challenges from an opposition member of the Kuwait parliament who suggested there should be term limits for individuals such as Ahmad, who has led the Olympic Council of Asia for 23 years.

    Ahmad tells ATR he is not opposed to term limits, but said it is a matter for the OCA General Assembly to take up—not him.

    “People ask me to continue,” he said. Asian NOCs are happy with his leadership, Ahmad claimed. He pointed out some of his accomplishments, noting there are 17 OCA events each quadrennium and that no continental organization can match the OCA’s activity level.

    Written by Ed Hula III

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