POSTED: January 21st 2011

Israeli Olympic leaders pledge aid for Palestinians ahead of London 2012

IOC president Jacques Rogge (second right) in Bethlehem during his fact-finding visit to the Middle East last autumn / lake images
IOC president Jacques Rogge (second right) in Bethlehem during his fact-finding visit to the Middle East last autumn / lake images

Historic handshake in Lausanne / IOC
Historic handshake in Lausanne / IOC

KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications

LONDON/LAUSANNE: Israel's sports authorities have promised the IOC that they will help Palestinian athletes preparing to compete at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

This emerged after a three-way summit hosted by the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne between the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) of Israel and Palestine aimed at addressing a number of outstanding sports-related issues. The meeting had been set up at the instigation of IOC president Jacques Rogge during a first visit to the Middle East last October.

Discussion on the free movement of Palestinian athletes, coaches, officials and sports material, as well as foreign visiting athletes, brought an agreement that both NOCs will make an assessment of the current difficulties and work together on concrete proposals to put before their governing authorities.

A second meeting is being scheduled in two months’ time to review the progress.

Expert support

The IOC is to provide experts to work on a long-term sports development strategy in Palestine in order to continue to assist not only the athletes but also coaches and sports administrators, and to identify ways to better promote sport and its values at grassroots level.

In the short run, priority will be given to assisting Palestinian athletes hoping to compete at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Representatives of the Olympic Committee of Israel said that they were ready to offer training opportunities to Palestinian athletes.

The participation of Israeli athletes in international competitions was another subject considered and all participants committed their goodwill to address the issue with the relevant parties.

The meeting was opened by Rogge and attended by IOC chief of staff Christophe de Kepper and NOC relations department director Pere Miró.

The Israeli delegation was composed of NOC president Zvi Varshaviak and NOC secretary-general Efraim Zinger; the Palestinian delegation, headed by NOC President Major General Jibril Rajoub, included NOC Director of International Relations Khalid El-Yazji, Tanya Jaar from the International Affairs Desk of the Palestine Football Association, and Jérôme Champagne, advisor to the Palestinian Authority for the development of sport and football.

Keywords · IOC · Rogge · Palestine

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