Mandela Postpones Olympic Aspirations; Sochi Torchbearers Named; New IOA Schedule

(ATR) South Africa focusing on Nelson Mandela’s health, not Olympic bid… Sochi names first batch of torchbearers… IOC announces new schedule for India…

No Thoughts of Olympics as South Africa Prays for Mandela

South African IOC member Sam Ramsamy tells Around the Rings that Nelson Mandela’s illness put all talk about an Olympic bid "on the backburner".

The former South African president has now spent one month in hospital receiving treatment for a recurring lung infection.

"We definitely will be bidding but we don’t know which one," Ramsamy told ATR.

"We have to work that out. But with the situation with Mandela everything is put on the backburner. Without government support we can’t do it."

He admitted the 2024 Games could be too soon for South Africa.

"My personal view is 2028," he added. "I think most of the cities are already lining up [for 2024] with Paris, a city from the USA looking at it and Qatar definitely.

"We could be a very good challenger to that but we won’t decide until after September."

The Sept. 7 IOC vote on the 2020 Olympic host city will help shape the line-up of applicant cities for the 2022 and 2024 Games.

Sochi Torchbearers Named

A surgeon, a cosmonaut, teacher and Olympic and Paralympic medalists were among the first batch of named Sochi 2014 torchbearers.

On Monday, the organizing committee announced the first torchbearers of the Games. Close to 6,000 torchbearers were selected from a pool of 140,000 candidates.

In a statement, Sochi 2014 said they were selected because of "their commitment to a healthy lifestyle and sports, and the Olympic values of friendship, excellence, and respect."

Some of the announced torchbearers are: the first female cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, four-time Olympic champion gymnast Alexi Nemov, three-time Olympic champion synchronized swimmer Maria Kiseleva, and 2012 Paralympic Bronze medalist Alekshey Chuvashev.

"Residents from all regions of Russia will participate in the Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay," said Sochi 2014 CEO Dmitry Chernyshenko."Everybody has had the chance to become a torchbearer and every attempt has been made to represent a wide range of different backgrounds of candidates. The torchbearers represent the best of Russia. It is a great experience to be a part of the Relay and it is something each city can get behind and feel proud of."

New IOA Schedule

The IOC saidnew elections for the Indian Olympic Association must be held between September 22 and 28.

Originally, the IOA was to propose a new constitution by July 15. The IOC postponed that deadline last week, and announced the new timeline today, according to media reports. A new constitution must be submitted by mid-August, reports say.

If everything meets IOC guidelines, the IOA will be eligible to rejoin the Olympic Movement, after the IOA was suspended in December of 2012.

ITTF Opens 2014 Bids

The International Table Tennis Federation opened bidding for the federation’s top tier events in 2014; the World Tour, and Global Junior Circuit.

In total, as many as 26 events could be staged under the World Tour banner, and six Global Junior Circuit events are available, with each serving as a qualifying event for the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing.

At the ITTF World Tour, the top table tennis players will compete for a chance to qualify for the finals and its $1 million prize pool.

Written by Edward Hula III

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