Kuwait Olympic Committee's new board of directors hopeful of IOC ban lift

The International Olympic Committee suspended Kuwait in October 2015 over alleged government meddling in sports
Kuwait Olympic Committee's new board of directors hopeful of IOC ban lift
The new board includes Talabat.com founder and CEO Mohammed Jaffar as president, as well as the Director General of the Olympic Council of Asia and International Aquatics Federation first vice president Husain Al-Musallam as KOC Secretary General (pictured)
By Bernd Debusmann Jr
Mon 01 Jul 2019 08:00 AM

The Kuwait Olympic Committee hopes to start a “new chapter” with the election of a youthful board of directors, with the lifting of International Olympic Committee's (IOC) ban expected shortly.

The IOC suspended Kuwait in October 2015 over alleged government meddling in sports, costing the Gulf country a chance to participate in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. At the games, their athletes were forced to march and compete under a neutral flag.

The ban was provisionally lifted in August 2018. According to Kuwaiti news reports, the ban is expected to be formally lifted soon to coincide with the election of the new committee.

The newly elected committee will be lead by a new president, Sheikh Fahad Nasser Sabah Ahmad Al Sabah, a former military attack helicopter pilot and current head of the Kuwait MotorCross committee.

Fluent in Arabic, English and French, Al Sabah was educated in Switzerland before attaining a degree in business administration and marketing management from the American University of Kuwait.

“I am honoured to have been elected to serve as president of the Kuwait Olympic Committee,” he said in a statement. “Alongside my highly experienced colleagues on the board of directors we are ready to usher in a new era and lead the Olympic movement in Kuwait to a brighter and more prosperous future.”

In a statement, the Kuwait Olympic Committee noted that the average age of the board – 32 years old – reflects its “desire to usher in a new generation” and “provide fresh and new perspectives on how best to serve sport in the country.”

The new board includes Talabat.com founder and CEO Mohammed Jaffar as president, as well as the Director General of the Olympic Council of Asia and International Aquatics Federation first vice president Husain Al-Musallam as KOC Secretary General.

Other members of the 10-member board include education ministry undersecretary Dr Saoud Al Harbi, Badminton Asia vice president Jabar Al Marri, Qualitynet founder Nael Al Awadi and two-time Olympian Faye Sultan, the country’s first ever Kuwaiti female Olympic swimmer.

All elected candidates were audited by the independent KOC Electoral Commission ahead of the General Assembly.

“The members of the board possess different and complementary expertise across a broad range of sectors, but we all share a passion for sport and commitment to fulfil our new vision for Kuwaiti sport,” Al Sabah said.

“It is time to be positive and look forwards as we aim to develop sport in Kuwait from the grassroots up to the elite level and spread the Olympic values throughout the country.

“We will work together with all government agencies as well as [the] private and public sector to achieve our goal. Our motto is ‘teamwork, unity and solidarity’,” he added.

For all the latest sports news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.