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August 6, 2008

Iraq Can`t Go To Olympic Games

As if enough things have not happened to Iraqi’s in the last few years, now they can’t go to the Olympics? The sad face of young sprinter named Dana Hussain shows how painful this decision is for athletes that have worked extremely hard training. The Olympic Committee has banned Iraq from the Beijing games.

This ban has occurred because of the Iraqi’s decision in May to suspend the countries Olympic Committee and form a temporary committee. The International Olympic Committee said that it has banned Iraq from the Olympics because they had officials that they did not recognize on the panel.

The Iraqi government said that several of the original officials reportedly lived outside of Iraq and the one year posts were sometimes held for five years. The IOC asked the Iraqi government to travel to Switzerland to talk about the situation. However, there was no response. So the fault seems to lie with the Iraqi government. There is also a chance that the track and field athletes can compete if the original committee is reappointed. The deadline to register is at the end of the month.

There is speculation that the government suspended the committee out of jealousy. Government corruption is something that seems to be a great concern in Iraq. The removal of the Olympic committee may be a case of jealousy. It seems that the Ministry of Youth and Sport wanted to have the power that the Olympic Committee had.

At the end of the day, the seven Iraqi athletes that were supposed to go to the games are the ones that are being punished. Whenever a country is banned, or boycotts that Olympics, it hurts no one but the people that have absolutely nothing to do with the politics and rules involved. In a country that has experienced so much in the last five years, it would have been good to have a few people to cheer for in Beijing.

Dana Hussain’s coaches and family have tried to reassure her that she will be able to race in the 2012 Olympics. However, she made a good point. As bitter and sad as it may sound, she said “who can even say I will be alive in 2012”. Too true indeed.

The Iraqi government really should try to get the original committee back in place. If they do that by the end of the month, these athletes who have trained so hard will be able to showcase their talents in the Olympics. No matter what state of existence your country is in, or what country it may be, representing your homeland is something special. At this time of turmoil, it would be nice for these athletes to get that chance.

Of course the International Olympic Committee could find a way to reconsider this decision. After all, it really does not do anything to punish the Iraqi government or the Iraqi Olympic Committee. Hopefully, the Iraqi government and the International Olympic Committee can find it in their hearts to work this out.

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