IOC mulls Iraqi training scholarships for Beijing
The International Olympic Committee is considering offering Iraqi athletes training scholarships ahead of the 2008 Beijing Games to overcome a lack of facilities.india Updated: Nov 28, 2006 22:06 IST
The International Olympic Committee is considering offering Iraqi athletes training scholarships ahead of the 2008 Beijing Games to overcome a lack of facilities due to the security situation in their country.
The IOC, along with several associations of national Olympic committees, has run a similar programme for the Asian Games due to start later this week in Qatar.
"Of course we are fully aware of the difficulties under which an Iraqi team is having to train," the IOC's Director of Communications Giselle Davies told reporters on Tuesday.
"A number of athletes have been training (abroad) for Doha and in due course if they reach the right qualification standards, for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games," she added.
In a statement, the IOC said at least three dozen Iraqi athletes and coaches had been hosted by other countries to train for the Asian Games.
"Depending on the results of the Doha Asian Games and the Olympic qualification system, the assistance will continue with the selection of certain athletes to receive Olympic scholarships for Beijing," the statement said.
In 2006 alone, several high-ranking Iraqi Olympic Committee officials, coaches and athletes have been kidnapped or killed by militant groups, raising serious questions about whether the national Olympic committee can continue operating in the country?
"There have been some difficulties. But there is proof that at least to a degree the system is operating. They (Iraq) have fielded a team for the Asian Games," Davies said.