Olympic Council of Asia chief hopes Kuwait ban over by 2020

Head of the Olympic Council of Asia hopes his native Kuwait will return to the Olympic fold ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Games
Olympic Council of Asia chief hopes Kuwait ban over by 2020
Olympic Council of Asia director general Husain Al-Musallam.
By Sam Bridge
Thu 30 Aug 2018 01:36 PM

The head of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) has said he hopes his native Kuwait will return to the Olympic fold ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Games.

OCA director general Husain Al-Musallam's comments come after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) provisionally lifted the ban shortly before the start of the Asian Games "as a gesture of goodwill".

Kuwait's national Olympic committee has been banned since 2015 after the government was accused of interference with a new sports law.

Kuwaiti athletes had to compete under the Olympic flag at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.

In an interview with Reuters, Al-Musallam said: "This issue is not only in Kuwait but has happened in many other countries in the world. We have had the same issue before in India, Pakistan, and Korea," he said. "All issues were solved after a year or two and things have moved forward.

"Kuwait is special because this issue is not for the first time but since 1986. The government changes the law and then imposes on the sports movement.

"Changing a law is good, you can change the law as you want but to implement or enforce a wrong article of the law to replace the Olympic charter is against the rules."

Reuters said Kuwait was also suspended in 2010 over a similar dispute but reinstated before the 2012 London Olympics.

Al-Musallam said the country's government was focused on getting the ban lifted in time for the Tokyo Games.

"For me, as a Kuwaiti, I am very proud that the team participated under the flag at the Asian Games and the athletes performed well in short notice.

"We need to work together in Kuwait, respect the minimum requirements and principles of the Olympic movement.

"I hope we will work together to hold elections according to the roadmap proposed by the IOC and this will be helpful for everybody."

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