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  • Kuwaiti Flag Could Fly at Tokyo 2020


    (ATR) Kuwait holds elections in its sports clubs as a first step in the roadmap designed to return the country to the good graces of the IOC.

    Kuwait last competed under its own flag at an Olympics in London 2012 (Getty Images)
    Should Kuwait adhere to the roadmap, Kuwaiti athletes will be able to participate under their own flag at the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

    The tentative deadline to close the process that will lead to the end of the suspension of the Kuwait Olympic Committee will be March 31, 2019, the Around the Rings knew on the eve of the General Assembly of Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) in the Japanese capital.

    The current process monitored by the IOC consists of a complete renovation of the entire Kuwaiti Olympic Movement, with new statutes and elections in the clubs, then in the sports federations and finally in the National Olympic Committee.

    "We are about to complete the votes in all the clubs," the IOC source said. "The roadmap is on track."

    Kuwait has appeared in recent times with the undesirable label of being the only Olympic Committee under permanent suspension. 

    IOC ruled Kuwait Olympic Committee was the victim of government interference (KOC)
    The last sanction adopted by the IOC on Kuwait was in October 2015 on ”the need to protect the Olympic Movement in Kuwait from undue government interference”.

    Because of that Kuwaiti athletes had to compete under the Olympic flag at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games and they have had no access to IOC funds.

    Last August the IOC decided on the provisional lifting of the suspension of the NOC “In the interest of Kuwaiti athletes and as a gesture of goodwill to recognise the progress accomplished” in discussions with the Kuwaiti government. 

    This decision allowed the country to compete under its own flag at the Asian Games in Indonesia last August.

    At the same time and to help finalize the punishment, the IOC designed a process and roadmap for fresh elections of all sports organizations in Kuwait. Included in the requirements was that the Government of Kuwait will not obstruct the work of the Kuwait Olympic Committee while it is fulfilling its basic responsibilities and duties under the Olympic Charter. 

    Changes in sports laws and government interference have been affecting Kuwait's Olympic status off and on since 1986.

    Kuwait had already been suspended in 2010 for a similar transgression, but was reinstated before the London 2012 Olympic Games.

    The country has had more than 15 national sports bodies suspended over the years, including its soccer federation, due to the controversial sports law.

    Written by Miguel Hernandez

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