Coalition Provisional Authority
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Dallas Lawrence
January 29, 2004 Office of Strategic Communications
New Olympic Committee Elections Welcome Iraq Back Into the Community of Nations
On January 29, 2004, with nations from around the world looking on and with the President of the International Olympic Committee on hand, a new and free Iraq was once again welcomed into the community of nations as it held its first successful democratic election of the National Olympic Committee for Iraq. The elections were held as part of the day long General Assembly event for the establishment of a new National Olympic Committee for Iraq, organized by the Interim Committee to Administer Sport and supervised by the International Olympic Committee.
For nearly two decades, Iraq’s Olympic Committee was organized as brutal arm of Uday Hussein’s operation to control every aspect of sport in Iraq, stifling development and exerting a complete stranglehold over all democratic principles of sporting institutions. Uday Hussein’s now infamous Olympic Committee was well known for its torturing and abuse of male and female athletes.
“Today’s historic elections are a testament to how far Iraq has come in the last nine months,” said Mr Ahmed Al Samarrai, the Chairman of Iraq’s Interim Committee to Administer Sport (ICTAS).
“With the democratic election of Iraq’s new National Olympic Committee we have taken a critical step towards ensuring our participation on the world stage at the Olympic Games in Athens 2004. The International Olympic Committee’s validation of those elections has sent a clear and unmistakable message around the world – A free Iraq has arrived,” concluded Mr. Ahmed Al Samarrai.
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