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NOC Secretary General Laurentino, Yohan and Chef de Mission Carolina at the Athletes’ Village on Monday.
Timor-Leste? Is that in Africa or Asia?

12 Feb 2018
PyeongChang, Korea, February 12, 2018: Alpine skier Yohan Goutt is not the only man with a mission for Timor-Leste here at the Winter Olympics. The delegation also includes the Secretary General of the National Olympic Committee of Timor-Leste, Laurentino Guterres, who has left behind the heat of Dili for the icy blasts of Korea to promote his country around the world.

“Most of the athletes and officials do not know where Timor is located,” Laurentino told the OCA in an interview at the PyeongChang Athletes’ Village on Monday. “They thought it was somewhere in Africa, but it is a new country in Asia. Other people thought it was part of Indonesia and still belonged to Indonesia – so we have to share that, yes, we were under Indonesia, but now we are an independent country.

“We are a very new country, only 15 years, and we are here to interact and to learn.” They have the perfect ambassador in Goutt, who, at 23, is making his second appearance in the Winter Olympics after his Sochi debut four years ago.

Yohan’s father is from France and his mother, Carolina de Mascarenhas, is Timorese. In 1974, just before Indonesia invaded East Timor, Carolina and her young siblings boarded a fishing boat in Dili and sailed to Darwin, Australia. 

His mother, who lives in Paris, is here with him as Chef de Mission, and the mini-entourage also includes Emilie Germain from the Ski Federation of Timor-Leste as Olympic Attache to deal with all the media inquiries and interview requests from around the world.

Laurentino continues: “Yohan is not here for the medal but to raise our flag at the Winter Olympics and talk about Timor-Leste with other countries. We have only two athletes for the winter sports and we are proud that we have one qualified for the Winter Games.”

Although he lives and trains in France, Yohan is well aware of his responsibilities in Timor and has returned to his mother’s homeland to work on a number of humanitarian projects and also call in at the NOC. “The young people in Timor are very proud that Yohan is here to represent Timor-Leste and talk about the future of Timor-Leste, to develop sport in Tmior-Leste and talk about peace,” adds Laurentino. “Yohan is one of the icons for the young generation in Timor-Leste.”
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