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Photo call with IOC President Thomas Bach at the OCA Athletes’ Forum.

Council News

IOC President visits OCA Athletes’ Forum

Date : 25 Nov 2018

Tokyo, Japan, November 25, 2018: The President of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, conducted a question and answer session with delegates at the OCA Athletes’ Forum on Sunday.

President Bach called in on the morning session at the National Training Centre in Tokyo and, after giving a short address, opened the floor to questions from representatives of the 44 National Olympic Committees.

In a rallying cry to the young athletes at the forum, President Bach urged them: “Raise your voice yourselves. Speak on your own behalf and do not let others speak on your behalf.”

He stressed the importance of fully-elected athletes’ commissions within National Olympic Committees in order to provide a legitimate voice in the decision-making process of the Olympic movement.

“You can raise your voice with all confidence in yourself and with all the confidence of your fellow athletes in you,” he added, referring to the empowerment of athlete elections.

The IOC President highlighted the significance of the newly adopted Athletes’ Declaration on the rights and responsibilities of athletes, describing it as a “milestone of athlete representation.”

He said: “You have a document and behind this document are the athletes of the world. This is really an historic achievement. Now it is up to you to make use of this document.”

With the main goal of the two-day OCA Athletes’ Forum being to establish an effective Athletes’ Commission in all 45 Asian National Olympic Committees within two years, President Bach said: “It is of crucial importance. You need this legitimacy and support to be expressed through elections.

“This must be a goal - that you can speak on behalf of the athletes or you will be in a position when others speak on behalf of you.”

President Bach thanked the Olympic Council of Asia and Olympic Solidarity for organising the forum and described the attendance of 44 NOCs as “an excellent sign to have such a great representation of Asian athletes.”

In one of the questions, Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee Executive Board member Chen Yi-An said athletes back home had played a major part the previous evening in ending proposals to change the name of the NOC from Chinese Taipei to Taiwan.

She said that the CTOC and athletes were always against this proposal, made by politicians, and that athletes had been “brave” in speaking out against the move and following the IOC rules.

President Bach said this was a good example of athletes raising their voice and he thanked the CTOC athletes for standing up for their rights.

After answering half a dozen questions, the IOC President was given a guided tour of the National Training Centre and met with athletes on Olympic Solidarity scholarship programmes training for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

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