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  • IOC Elects Nine New Members


    10/09/18

    (ATR) The IOC easily elects one of its largest incoming classes and renews membership for the Emir of Qatar.
    Samira Asghari, new IOC member from Afghanistan (ATR)

    Among the new members is Samira Asghari from Afghanistan, with the 24-year-old being the youngest of the class. Asghari has the potential to serve for more than four decades on the IOC.

    The group includes a mix of National Olympic Committee leadership and International Federation Leaders. Three women and six men were elected for eight year terms. Members can serve until age 70 before retiring.

    Only two of the new candidates come from Europe, while the rest of the group hails from South America, Africa, and Asia.

    The full list of new members is as follows:

    -Daina Gudzineviciute, Lithuania, President of the Lithuanian Olympic Committee
    -Felicite Rwemarika, Rwanda, 1st Vice-President of the Rwandan Olympic Committee
    -Camilo Pérez López Moreira, Paraguay, President of the Paraguayan Olympic Committee
    -Giovanni Malago, Italy, President of the Italian Olympic Committee
    -Samira Asghari, Afghanistan
    -William Frederick Blick, Uganda, President of the Ugandan Olympic Committee
    -HRH Prince Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck, Bhutan, President of the Bhutanese Olympic Committee
    -Morinari Watanabe, Japan, President of the International Gymnastics Federation
    -Andrew Parsons, Brazil, President of the International Paralympic Committee

    Asghari comes from one of Afghanistan’s most dangerous provinces - Maidan Wardak, in the Jalrez district, where insurgents have captured many districts that continue to be under their control even today.

    Her experience includes working for the Afghanistan NOC, Ministry of Sport and she has also played for the war-torn country’s national basketball team.

    “It is going to be quite tough to work for the movement in Afghanistan, but this is a good move, the first move, but a good move,” Asghari said. “If we can bring the spirit of sport in Afghanistan, this is a great achievement for Afghanistan and the IOC.”

    “I didn’t think I would ever make it to the IOC, but I’m very happy and I’m going to help and support all athletes with the IOC”
    Giovanni Malago, new IOC member from Italy (ATR)

    Malago, who will assume his post with the IOC on January 1, will aim to fill the big shoes of long-time Italian members Mario Pescante and Franco Carrara, while using his influence in quest of a victory for Italy’s 2026 Winter Games bid. Of all the new members, Malago is the only elected member from a country of one of the three 2026 bids.

    “It’s a very huge responsibility because there is a long history of these two fantastic persons,” Malago said. “They are not simple or normal IOC members, so I will try to be at the same level as them – that will be my mission.”

    Regarding the 2026 Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo bid, Malago joked with ATR’s Brian Pinelli. 

    “You have already been in Cortina, so we hope that your presence will not only be there in 2021, but also in 2026,” Malago said with a big laugh.
    Morinori Watanabe, new IOC member from Japan (ATR)

    Watanabe will add more Japanese influence to the IOC less than two years from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics open. He told Around the Rings that “everybody in the world is waiting for a fantastic Olympic Games and [Tokyo] can do it,” but it will not be his main priority at the IOC.

    “The IOC must support athletes, the first priority is athletes, this is my policy; it has not changed,” Watanabe said. “I must work for the athletes.”

    Perez told ATR that the significance of his appointment was on his mind following the election and that he was very “happy to be a part of this group selected”. He will work to “support our [three] Games in South America” through his membership.

    Sheikh Tamim Al-Thani, the Emir of Qatar, was re-elected to another eight year term as IOC member. The Emir had missed a number of recent IOC meetings, but travelled to Buenos Aires for his membership re-election.

    Qatar will host a number of big events in the coming months including the World Gymnastics Championships and the 2019 Athletics World Championships. Qatar will also host the 2022 World Cup.

    Neither FIFA President Gianni Infantino nor IAAF President Sebastian Coe made the cut this time around, meaning the two largest federations remain without an IOC member. Greece is still without an IOC member since the retirement of Lambis Nikolaou more than two years ago.

    The large incoming class will help the IOC deal with the departures of a number of influential members because of retirements. Seven members will retire either after the session or at the end of the calendar year due to age. Others are stepping down from roles tied to NOCs. Two IOC members died this year, so the total membership will remain under 100.

    Tunku Imran, Mario Pescante, and Sam Ramsamy were all elected as honorary members following their departures.

    Written by Aaron Bauer, Brian Pinelli, and Ed Hula in Buenos Aires.

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