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Volume 6 No. 212


Scottish Sports Minister Shona Robison suggested that "an independent Scotland would field its own Olympic and Paralympic teams" at the 2016 Rio Games, according to Josh White of the LONDON TIMES. Robison "is confident" that should the Scottish electorate opt for independence in next year’s referendum, Scotland "will satisfy the requirements for being a separate Olympic nation" to England, Wales and Northern Ireland, who compete under the banner of Team GB. At the 2012 London Games, 55 Scots competed for Team GB, "making up more than" 10% of the squad. However, they accounted for 12 out of 65 -- more than 18% -- of British medals won and almost 25% of golds, with seven out of 29. Robison said, "We’re comfortable and assured Scotland will have its own Olympic and Paralympic team. It will bring many benefits" (LONDON TIMES, 9/18). The Scotland DAILY RECORD reported Scotland "already meets criteria relating to its sporting structure and the number of affiliated national Olympic sports federations." Robison said the only obstacle to overcome was an "independent state recognised by the international community" (DAILY RECORD, 9/18).

PROS AND CONS: The BBC reported Robison said that "more Scots would get the chance to participate in Brazil and future Games if independence became a reality." She also insisted that Scottish athletes "would not be disadvantaged by independence, even though they would be denied access to traditional funding streams and facilities." Robison: "We have made substantial investments." Robison added Scottish athletes would have access to a "fantastic new velodrome and a fantastic new sports arena" in Glasgow as well as a new £25M ($40M) performance center for sport in Edinburgh. However, "not everyone is convinced that Scotland would be better off competing as a separate nation." Badminton player Imogen Bankier said that her country "does not have the facilities, funding or depth of talent to make a major impact at future Olympics." Bankier: "We're lucky with the way that it stands now for Scotland. We can tap into the English system and be part of Team GB when it suits us and use it our advantage. Independence would mean we would lose that. That's only going to see sports suffer" (BBC, 9/18).

BOA STANDS PAT: The London TELEGRAPH reported the BOA said that "it will not consider" an independent Scottish team unless the country "votes to be an independent nation." A BOA spokesperson said, "At this point in time, Team GB comprises athletes from all four home nations. Until the referendum has been held, we won't know the outcome and possible consequences for a British Olympic team. Once we have those facts, we will address them" (TELEGRAPH, 9/18).

IOC member Randhir Singh on Wednesday asked the officials of the suspended Indian Olympic Association "to accept the IOC's directive to bar charge-sheeted persons from contesting elections or face further action from the world body," according to the PTI. Randhir said, "My friends in IOA are misinformed. They don't realize the gravity of the situation. They don't realize that what IOC says, has to be accepted." The IOA "has continued to be in a defiant mood despite the IOC's tough stand on the charge-sheet clause." It had decided in its Special GBM last month "that only those who were sentenced for two or more years would be barred from contesting polls." Randhir, who was IOA Secretary General before the Indian body was suspended by the IOC on Dec. 4, said that "had he been in the eye of storm, he would have rescued himself from discharging duties." Randhir: "If it was me, I would have moved away. It's up to them to answer it and come clear on the issue" (PTI, 9/18).

Olympic athletes "risk the hottest weather in more than a century at the 2020 Tokyo Games as high summer temperatures in Japan’s capital highlight concern about holding global sporting events under extreme conditions," according to Chris Cooper of BLOOMBERG. Tokyo "is set to host its second Olympics in July and August, the hottest months in the city, where temperatures soared to 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit) last month." A temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or higher during the men’s marathon at the Tokyo Olympics "would make it the hottest in at least 120 years." U.K.-based Loughborough University Professor of Environmental Physiology & Ergonomics George Havenith, who has visited Tokyo several times in the summer, said, "It is unwise to plan an event in such extreme conditions. There also is an increased risk for the spectators." Tokyo-based meteorologist at Weather Caster Network Tadayuki Iwaya said that in addition, "higher humidity in Tokyo makes summer temperatures feel hotter than in climates like Athens, where there’s less moisture in the air." The IOC said that "the preferred period for the Games were between July 15 and Aug. 31, though it would consider applications outside of those dates." IOC Media Relations Manager Andrew Mitchell said, "The health of the athletes is clearly a top priority for the IOC, but at this stage it is too early to comment on any specific measures, such as holding the marathon in the morning at Beijing 2008." Other countries "have held the Olympics at later dates." Sydney held the Olympics in late September to early October in '00, as did Seoul in '88, while Mexico held the Games in Oct. '68 (BLOOMBERG, 9/18).