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Iraqi Team Reinstated Into Beijing Summer Olympics

Posted July. 31, 2008 08:48,   


Iraq was originally banned from the Beijing Olympics. A dramatic breakthrough was reached only nine days before the opening. Now, Iraq can participate in the sports festival. It can dispatch only two athletes, though, since the deadlines for most sports have passed. To wave the Iraqi national flag to the world viewers, the country succumbed to the various demands of the International Olympic Committee.

The IOC announced that it lifted the ban on Iraq as of yesterday. The IOC banned the country from participating in the Olympics due to the Iraqi government’s excessive political interference in its Olympic Committee operation. To appease the anger of the international body, the Iraqi government had overhauled the human composition of the local committee. In 2006, armed thugs abducted the former Iraqi head of the committee, and his whereabouts is still unknown.

When it became clear that Iraq would not play in the Olympics, the government dispatched a special delegation for negotiations with the IOC. The IOC reportedly demanded that the local committee be politically free and neutral. Thus, Iraq will compose a new Iraqi Olympic Committee by November. The international body will supervise the selection of the committee representatives and the political neutrality of the organization.

Iraq had seven athletes on wild card to the Olympics in track, archery, judo, rowing and weightlifting. Most of them, however, will not play in the Olympics since they failed to register in time. Only two track and field athletes will run in Beijing.

With Iraq in, 205 countries around the globe will participate. Commenting on the event, the Korean Olympic Committee said, “When Iraq becomes a participant, South Korea will enter 177th, and North Korea 178th.” In the Beijing Olympics, the order of entering is determined by the strokes of a country’s name in the simplified Chinese character. Thus, Iraq will enter 80th in order.