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Volume 6 No. 193


IOC President Thomas Bach "praised Russia's preparations for the 2014 Winter Games in the Black Sea resort of Sochi during an inspection visit with President Vladimir Putin on Monday," according to Alexei Anishchuk of REUTERS. In his first comments about Russia's readiness for the Games, Bach said, "We are fully confident that the Games will be on a magnificent level. We are extremely grateful to you for the magnificent co-operation we developed in recent years. Sochi and the whole region completed a very big, successful development journey and we have been deeply impressed with this path." The praise "must have been music to Putin's ears because he has staked his reputation on the success of the Games." Putin said, "Now that the overwhelming majority of sites are almost ready, there's a final push left, we need to accomplish this final milestone" (REUTERS, 10/28).

St. Petersburg Mayor Georgy Poltavchenko said that the city "is likely to make a bid to host the Summer Olympics," according to R-SPORT. Poltavchenko "made the announcement at a ceremony marking the arrival of the the Olympic torch in Russia's second city." The torch "is currently traveling around Russia ahead of the 2014 Winter Games in the Black Sea resort of Sochi." Poltavchenko said, "We are looking at the question of St. Petersburg making an application to host the Summer Olympics" (R-SPORT, 10/28). R-SPORT also reported local analysts said that "St. Petersburg is not ready to bid for the Olympic Games and should concentrate on the events it is already set to host." Kirill Nabutov, who hails from the city and commentated on the opening ceremonies of the last two Olympics for Russian TV, said that "it is wishful thinking to plan a St. Petersburg Olympic bid before the city hosts World Cup football" in '18. Nabutov: "On the one hand, why shouldn't a big city with facilities and resources bid for the Olympic Games? But it's another question whether there's a great chance of getting them. A lot will depend on how Sochi goes, and the 2018 championships." He added that the city’s top priority should be completing the stadium for its World Cup games, which is still just 45% finished despite being under construction since '07, according to a statement Monday from the company in charge. Nabutov added that any more delays to the stadium run the risk of turning St. Petersburg into "the laughing stock of the world" (R-SPORT, 10/28).

The Indian Olympic Association on Sunday sought to dilute the IOC's directive "to bar charge-framed persons from contesting elections and instead decided to refer such cases to the Ethics Commission of the IOA to take a decision," according to the PTI. The IOA, in a special General Body Meeting in New Delhi, "proposed to refer the cases of those persons against whom charges have been framed for offences that carry punishment of a jail term of more than two years to a nine-member Ethics Commission." There would, however, "be no bar to contest elections on persons against whom charges have been framed for offences, which carry a jail term of less than than two years." The Ethics Commission "will have four retired judges of High Court in Justices:" Bhagwati Prasad, B. K. Nehru, Usha Mehra and R. S. Sodhi. The IOA, however, rejected the IOC's directive to apply the age limit clause (of 70-year cap) to all officials or Exec Council members "and instead proposed to restrict it to the president, secretary general and treasurer" (PTI, 10/27). THE HINDU reported six-time Olympic shooter Randhir Singh, making it clear that some of the amendments to the IOA Constitution did not match the ones proposed by the IOC, said, "We are here for the sportspersons." The IOA "has decided to negotiate the issue with the IOC in Lausanne in due course of time" with the active support of Singh (THE HINDU, 10/27). The PTI reported Clean Sports India President Ashwini Nachappa said that the IOC should expel the IOA "for continuing to defy its guidelines on good governance and form an ad-hoc body to carry forward the Olympic movement in the country." Nachappa said, "CSI is extremely disappointed with the IOA which has brought shame on the entire sports community by not adhering to IOC's final directive of amending their constitution as per its guidelines." Nachappa said that in its last communication, "the IOC informed that it will give one last chance to the suspended IOA to mend their ways and get the suspension revoked." Nachappa: "But the few individuals, who are facing criminal charges are adamant and are not accepting IOC directives even if it meant denial of Indian athletes participating under the Indian flag" (PTI, 10/28).

Abandoned and left to crumble into oblivion, most of the 1984 Winter Olympic venues in Bosnia's capital, Sarajevo, "have been reduced to rubble by neglect as much as the 1992-95 conflict that tore apart the former Yugoslavia," according to Zoran Milosavljevic of REUTERS. One set of photographs "shows the venues gleaming with state of the art facilities nearly three decades ago, when Sarajevo made the former Yugoslavia the first communist country to host the Winter Games." The other "paints a sad picture of the bobsleigh and luge track at Mount Trebevic, the Mount Igman ski jumping course and accompanying objects decomposing into obscurity." The bobsleigh and luge track, which was also used for World Cup competitions after the Olympics, "became a Bosnian-Serb artillery stronghold during the war and is nowadays a target of frequent vandalism, still bearing the scars of war epitomised by defensive holes drilled by the troops." The two ski jumping hills "were also never used after becoming battlegrounds, although there are plans to reconstruct the in-runs, expand the large one and build new spectator stands and visitor facilities" (REUTERS, 10/28).

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that a "shortage of snow will not happen in Sochi Winter Olympic Games." During his meeting with visiting IOC President Thomas Bach, Putin said that "he hoped there will be more snow in Sochi." Russian Deputy PM Dmitry Kozak, who also participated in the meeting, informed the IOC official that "500,000 cubic meters of snow have been stored for the Games" (XINHUA, 10/28). ... The re-elections of the National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka "is likely to be postponed to next year due to the delays in completing necessary pre-requisites" (SRI LANKA MIRROR, 10/25). ... Japan's official relations with China and South Korea "are shaky due to island disputes." But Japanese Olympic Committee President Tsunekazu Takeda said that "sporting relations are good." Takeda: "In the 2020 bid campaign, we received very much cooperation from China and South Korea. I say there is no doubt about it. At present, we have very friendly relations with both China and South Korea when it comes to exchanges in sporting circles" (AFP, 10/28).