IOC President's Tour Down Under Includes Smaller NOCs

(ATR) Thomas Bach is scheduled to hold talks with Olympic leaders in Papua New Guinea, Palau and Guam.

(ATR) Thomas Bach will visit Olympic leaders in the Pacific islands after SportAccord next week.

The IOC chief is scheduled to hold talks with the heads of NOCs in Papua New Guinea, Palau and Guam.

His first stop en route to Gold Coast, Queensland, host of the annual gathering of Olympic and non-Olympic sports federations, will be Sydney. On May 4, Bach will address the annual assembly of the Australian Olympic Committee.

The IOC president is likely to bang the drum again about the benefits of a 2032 Olympic bid from Australia.

AOC president John Coates will deliver his annual address to the assembly and present Bach with a President’s Trophy to honor the IOC president’s long service to the Olympic Movement.

The pair are expected to travel together to Queensland to attend the 17th edition of SportAccord, which takes place May 5 to 10 at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre.

On May 10 and 11, Bach will fly to the three Pacific islands, making brief stops on each of them for talks with NOC officials before heading back to Europe via Hong Kong.

"While here, President Bach gets to see how the small NOCs really function," Guam National Olympic Committee president Ricardo Blas Sr was quoted in the Pacific Daily News.

"With Palau and Guam, we have the same challenges when we go to the Olympic Games, and how hard it is to field a team to go to the Games. Although our athletes have qualified to go to the Games for some time now, this is why nations such as Palau and Guam get universality slots in swimming and in track," he added.

To date, Juan Antonio Samaranch is the only IOC president to have visited Guam.

"I think it’s a great opportunity, even though it’s a short period of time. When you compare us to PNG and Fiji, the GNOC has advanced itself in a way that other countries haven’t come close," said Blas.

On his return to Lausanne, Bach and his IOC administration will spend time preparing for the May 22 executive board meeting, which will set the agenda for the IOC Session scheduled from June 24 to 26.

The IOC’s ruling body will also receive the outcomes of the ad-hoc inquiry into concerns around AIBA’s governance, ethics, financial management, refereeing and judging.

Reported by Mark Bisson

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