Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 12th 2013 Contents A57
• Twitter: @GuardianTT • Web: guardian.co.tt
BUENOS AIRES---New IOC President
Thomas Bach will be tested quickly by two
troublesome Olympics: the Winter Games
less than five months away in the southern
Russian resort of Sochi, and the Summer
Olympics in Rio de Janeiro --- still three years
away but setting off alarms.
Bach was elected to the top job on yesterday,
replacing Jacques Rogge as head of the Inter-
national Olympic Committee. One of the first
phone calls he received was from Russian
President Vladimir Putin, who is staking some
of his prestige on the Sochi Games.
"He congratulated me and (said) there would
be close cooperation to make (sure of) the
success of the Sochi Games," Bach said.
The buildup to the February 7-23 games
has been overshadowed by concerns with cost
overruns, human rights, a budget topping $50
billion, security threats and a Western backlash
against a Russian law against gay "propagan-
Bach and the IOC have been told by the
Russians there would be no discrimination
against anyone in Sochi, and that Russia would
abide by the Olympic Charter.
"We have the assurances of the highest
authorities in Russia that we trust," Bach told
The Associated Press.
It remains unclear what would happen if
athletes or spectators demonstrate against the
anti-gay law. Rogge said this week the IOC
would send a reminder to athletes that, under
the Olympic Charter, they are prohibited from
making any political gestures.
At his first news conference as president,
Bach was asked about how the IOC would
deal with human rights issues in host countries.
The IOC has been criticized for not speaking
out against abuses in countries like China and
"The IOC cannot be apolitical," Bach said.
"We have to realize that our decisions at events
like Olympic Games, they have political impli-
cations. And when taking these decisions we
have to, of course, consider political implica-
Then he hedged.
"But in order to fulfill our role to make sure
that in the Olympic Games and for the par-
ticipants the Charter is respected, we have to
be strictly politically neutral. And there we
also have to protect the athletes."
Rio looms large after Sochi.
IOC inspectors visiting just over a week ago
said slow progress was being made in prepa-
rations for the 2016 Games, but warned that
things need to be speeded up.
Carlos Nuzman, head of the Rio organising
committee, was grilled Sunday by IOC mem-
bers worried about building delays, lack of
local sponsorship money, and planning squab-
bles between the federal, state and local gov-
There are worries about infrastructure proj-
ects including a revamped port and a late start
building one of the four main hubs for the
games. Demonstrations are also a concern,
particularly after daily protests in June at the
Confederations Cup with many Brazilians ask-
ing why the government is spending billions
on big sports events in a country with stark
inequalities, high taxes and poor public serv-
"We are three years ... from Rio and we will
make sure that we have very close coordination
with the organizing committee, and also with
the governmental authorities," Bach said.
"There are, of course, some issues.
"I hope also that in the not too far future---
I don t know when---that I can visit Rio and
get a first-hand impression."
Bach, the longtime favourite, defeated five
candidates in yesterday s secret ballot. The
former Olympic fencer received 49 votes, and
Richard Carrion of Puerto Rico was second
with 29 in a six-candidate field.
Ng Ser Miang of Singapore got six votes,
Denis Oswald of Switzerland five and Sergei
Bubka of Ukraine four. C.K. Wu of Taiwan
was eliminated in the first round after an initial
tie with Ng as low vote-getter.
The vote was the third and final big decision
at the four-day IOC congress. On Saturday,
the IOC awarded the 2020 Olympics to Tokyo,
over rival bids from Istanbul and Madrid. The
next day, wrestling won reinstatement to the
program for the 2020 and 2024 Olympics,
beating out squash and a combined baseball-
Bach, who has headed Germany s national
Olympic committee, is the ninth president in
the 119-year history of the IOC. He s the eighth
European to hold the presidency and replaces
Rogge, a 71-year-old Belgian who held office
for 12 years.
Elected to an eight-year term, Bach is the
first gold medallist to become IOC president.
He won gold in team fencing for West Germany
in the 1976 Montreal Olympics.
Bach was the long-time favorite because of
his resume: former Olympic athlete, long-
serving member of the policy-making IOC
executive board, chairman of the legal com-
mission, head of anti-doping investigations
and negotiator of European TV rights.
"It is what I and many of the others had
anticipated," said IOC member Prince Albert
of Monaco. "I think it was very clear. You
can t argue with his experience and his lead-
ership and his great knowledge about the
Olympic movement and the world of sports,
and also the outside world. I think we are get-
ting a great president."
BIRMINGHAM---The third one-day
international between England and Aus-
tralia was abandoned as a no result yes-
terday, with only 15.1 overs possible
because of rain.
England was 59-3 after being put into
bat when the teams were taken off because
of light rain. Play was abandoned for the
day three and a half hours later.
Australia stayed 1-0 up in the five-
match series, courtesy of its win in the
second ODI in Manchester on Sunday.
The first match was washed out at Head-
ingly on Friday.
The tourists were on top before the rain
arrived, with Michael Carberry (1) run out
on the final ball of the first over after a
mix-up with Kevin Pietersen (6), who
then miscued a pull to square leg. Joe
Root was out for 12.
Jacques Rogge, right, outgoing president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), points to Thomas Bach of Germany, left, after Bach was
elected as the new IOC president during the 125th IOC session in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Tuesday. AP PHOTO
Bach to face music early
Third ODI between Australia, England abandoned
Links Archive September 11th 2013 September 13th 2013 Navigation Previous Page Next Page