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Colonel Iredale

Iraq Banned From Beijing Olympics

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Iraq banned from Beijing Olympics

Athletes from Iraq have been banned from taking part at this summer's Beijing Games, the International Olympic Committee has announced.

The team was already the subject of an interim ban after the Iraqi government replaced the country's Olympic committee with its own appointees.

Under the IOC charter, all committees must be free of political influence.

As a result the team of two rowers, two sprinters, one archer, one weightlifter and one judo competitor cannot attend.

"We sent a letter to the Iraqi government today saying that as the situation stands today it is unlikely to have Iraqi athletes at the Beijing Games," said IOC spokesperson Emmanuelle Moreau.

Hussein al-Amidi, the general secretary of the Iraqi Olympic Committee, said: "This morning we were informed of the final decision of the International Olympic Committee to suspend the membership of the Iraqi Olympic Committee.

"It's a final decision, there is no way to appeal. This means that Iraq will not take part in the coming Olympic games.

"It is a blow to Iraq and its international reputation, its athletes and its youth.

"I swear those athletes who have been training... they phoned me today and they were crying and were very upset."

The committee which the government dismissed was elected in 2004, in line with the Olympic movement's regulations.

Its chairman, Ahmad al-Samarra'i, and several other members were abducted by gunmen while attending a meeting in central Baghdad in July 2006.

They have not been seen since.

The Iraqi government said it took the move because the committee was corrupt and had not been functioning properly.

BBC Sport: Iraq banned from Beijing Olympics

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Could the athletes not have competed under the Olympic Flag as individuals? I can see the reasons for the suspension and see how it is an appropriate measure, its just a pity that it hurts the athletes...

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8 MORE medals for Waziristan!!

(Just kidding. I know; I feel sorry for those poor Iraqi athletes.) :(

Edited by baron-pierreIV

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If possible, Iraqi athletes would definitly recive the most massive applause as they marching into the stadium. Sad but what politics is really cruel to the Olympics.

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Could the athletes not have competed under the Olympic Flag as individuals?

My thought exactly.

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Why punish the athletes??? let them compete under the Olympic Flag.

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It appears that the IOC board does not want to make any exceptions this year -- and is sending a message to gov'ts around the world that they CANNOT summarily dismiss and create new OCs without so much as a 'by your leave' to the gods in Lausanne.

Edited by baron-pierreIV

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Let the athletes participate under the olympic flag!

Warn the Iraq if it's not better before the 2012 Games the athletes are not allowed to participate in that Games (maybe that will work).

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Actually, here is a better, fairer report on the matter:

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) by Brian Murphy,

The International Olympic Committee has upheld a ban on Iraqi teams at the Beijing Games, saying Thursday the government missed the deadline to address accusations of political interference.

The IOC decision culminates a drawn-out internal feud in Iraq that many see as an extension of Shiite payback to Sunnis who once held a cozy niche in Saddam Hussein's regime.

In May, the government dissolved the National Olympic Committee. Among the claims was it was illegitimate because it lacked a legal quorum - but four members of the committee, including its chief, were kidnapped two years ago and their fates are unknown.

There's also a potential sectarian rift. Iraq's Youth and Sports Ministry is dominated by Shiites, while the NOC includes several holdovers from the Saddam-era Olympic Committee, run by his feared eldest son, Odai.

The International Olympics Committee denounced the order as "serious interference" in what is supposed to be an independent body and demanded the government respect the NOC's autonomy.

"Clearly we'd very much like to have seen Iraq's athletes in Beijing," IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies said Thursday. "We are very disappointed that the athletes have been so ill-served by their own government's actions."

The Iraqi Olympic team was greeted with a roaring ovation at the opening ceremony of the Athens Games in 2004. That was the country's first Olympics after the fall of Saddam and Odai, who as head of the Iraqi Olympic committee tortured athletes who failed to reach his standards. Iraq's soccer team became one of the feel-good stories of those games when it made a surprising run to the semifinals.

Four Iraqi athletes were expected to compete in non-track and field sports - archery, judo, rowing and weightlifting. Their places will be offered to athletes from other countries.

The IOC and Olympic Council of Asia jointly sent a letter Wednesday to Iraq's minister for youth and sport Jassem Mohammed Jaafar confirming Iraq's suspension "despite joint efforts.... over the past few months to find a positive solution with Iraqi authorities."

Iraq's government said after the June 4 suspension it wanted to meet with the IOC "to make its legitimate case."

It said the decision to dissolve the Olympic committee was based on "solid evidence of blatant corruption, lack of legitimate transparent electoral processes and accountability and absence of ratified legislation."

But IOC spokeswoman Davies said Thursday the Iraqi government was asked to Switzerland to discuss possible remedies "but (it) did not positively respond to the IOC's invitation."

She said the suspension destroyed progress made in Iraq's sporting community since the fall of Saddam in 2003.

Iraq's athletes are not the first to miss an Olympic Games because of government interference.

In the most recent case, Afghanistan was prevented from sending a team to the Sydney games in 2000 because of the Taliban regime's intervention in sports administration.

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Iraqi athletes should be competing under the Olympic flag. They go through worse stuff and work so hard on a daily basis just to get there. Now they're being punished for government interference.

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Millions protested the Beijing Olympics and the IOC President said that you cannot neglect the people of China. Now, the IOC is neglecting the people of Iraq who always supported the Olympic movement. Why punishing our athletes? Why injecting politics into this? I can't believe that the IOC will kill the Olympic dream of 26 million Iraqis?

In August of 2004, my city was a battlefield but the only thing on my mind was watching my fellow Iraqis in the opening ceremony of Athens 2004. I still remember that great moment when the Iraqi athlete Maysa waved the Iraqi flag wearing an ancient Babylonian dress. This is the One World, One Dream Olympics and the last time I checked Iraqis are still part of that One World and they do have the right to have a share of that One Dream. It is ironic that the place where the human race wrote the first words, built the first cities and put humanity on the right path to civilization is not part of the IOC's One World!

Viva La Babylonia!

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If the IOC will let those athlets compete under the Olympic flag, will the Iraqi government allow them to travel to Beijing? Prolly not.

The nine Iraqi athletes are waiting for the IOC's green light to travel to China and today's news where the biggest shock! The entire country was waiting and the government cannot stop them from traveling to China.

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I hope Iraqi can join the olympic under the olympic flag, BTW I don't get the news why the iraqi can take a part in olympic ?

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I understand that the IOC had reglations regarding NOC's and that there was a clear violation here...but I mean come on give the country a break...it's in the middle of a war and undergoing unusual circumstances for a nation...it isn't like some well established nation went and broke IOC rules out of no where.....

I hope at the very least these brave athletes can participate under the Olympic flag, although seeing Iraq march with the other 200+ nations on 8/8 would have been a highlight of the ceremony for many...

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Millions protested the Beijing Olympics and the IOC President said that you cannot neglect the people of China. Now, the IOC is neglecting the people of Iraq who always supported the Olympic movement. Why punishing our athletes? Why injecting politics into this? I can't believe that the IOC will kill the Olympic dream of 26 million Iraqis?

In August of 2004, my city was a battlefield but the only thing on my mind was watching my fellow Iraqis in the opening ceremony of Athens 2004. I still remember that great moment when the Iraqi athlete Maysa waved the Iraqi flag wearing an ancient Babylonian dress. This is the One World, One Dream Olympics and the last time I checked Iraqis are still part of that One World and they do have the right to have a share of that One Dream. It is ironic that the place where the human race wrote the first words, built the first cities and put humanity on the right path to civilization is not part of the IOC's One World!

Viva La Babylonia!

I've checked many Chinese websites, and most of the Chinese urging IOC to allow Iraq join the Games. I wish the voice of host nation should heard properly by the IOC.

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I've checked many Chinese websites, and most of the Chinese urging IOC to allow Iraq join the Games. I wish the voice of host nation should heard properly by the IOC.

Yes, because clearly the Chinese have respected the IOC, so the IOC should kow-tow.

That bit of bitterness aside, I think the situation is unfortunate for Iraq but mass firings of you entire NOC and then not even really trying to qualify atheletes for Beijing speak of bigger problems.

I'm sorry, but I don't see the IOC being left with many options here.

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If the IOC will let those athlets compete under the Olympic flag, will the Iraqi government allow them to travel to Beijing? Prolly not.

It's not the Eeraki gov't keeping the athletes out. It's the IOC.

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as much as i want to, i couldn't bring myself to weep for those athletes.

the IOC's ruling on their NOC's political interference is a valid one.

should the Iraqi athletes be allowed to participate under the Olympic flag? nope, because doing so would defeat the purpose of sanctioning the country. if they are allowed to still participate, what would stop other nations' goverments from interfereing with their own NOC's and come Games-time just let their athletes participate under the Olympic flag?

And it has been done before so there's a precedent. Afghanistan was in more or less the same shithole as where Iraq is right now.

As much as it is a sad story, I would concur with the IOC's decision. it's the Iraqi Olympic Committee's fault.

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Oh Yeah! The IOC was left without other choices! The same old story since 1936! I'm not defending the Iraqi government. They messed up big time but the athletes should not be punished. They spent four years in a war zone trying to get ready for that one event and they just don't deserve this. Iraq is in the process of rebirth and sports manage to bring all Iraqis together and the IOC is suddenly paying attention to the rules!

I'm glad that the Chinese people are showing support and encouraging the IOC to let Iraqi athletes compete in Beijing but I don't think that this will happen. I'm sure it will be wonderful games just please don't call it the One World Olympics... thanks to the IOC it's not.

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Although I really wish the Iraqi athletes could compete under the Olympic flag, the Iraqi NOC and Government have had numerous warnings and have showed no respect for their athletes either.

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The Iraqi government is in Geneva to negotiate with the IOC.

Until the end of this month they could find a solution. Maybe still some athletes could participate.

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