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IOC President Bach visits Caribbean and Central American NOCs


13 Mar 2023 – The IOC President, Thomas Bach, began his visit to the Caribbean and Central American National Olympic Committees (NOCs) in Costa Rica on 28 February. He was greeted in the country’s capital, San José, by IOC member Laura Chinchilla and by the President of the NOC, Alexander Zamora. He was also joined by the President of Panam Sports and IOC member, Neven Ilic, who accompanied the President throughout the entire tour of the region.

The first stop was the NOC headquarters, where he had the opportunity to meet and speak with athletes and young people from a range of sports who also took part in a number of sports demonstrations. The centre, supported by Olympic Solidarity, has accommodation where athletes can stay during training and preparation for competition. The President also had a meeting with the Executive Board of the NOC in which they discussed the prospects for the upcoming Pan American Games in Chile and the Olympic Games Paris 2024. At a lunch organised by the NOC, the President met a number of Costa Rican NOC members and Olympians.

Later, the President met Mary Munive, Vice President of the Republic and Sports Minister, with whom he discussed the contribution of sport to society and the support for Olympic sports and athletes in Costa Rica. He finished the visit with a dinner with NOC members, athletes and local sponsors of the National Olympic Committee

Arriving in Havana, Cuba, on 2 March, President Bach was met by IOC member Maria de la Caridad Colón Ruenes, and Roberto León Richards Aguiar, NOC President. They attended a joint meeting of the Cuban NOC and the Cuban Athletes’ Commission. They were able to discuss their situation and future plans.

After a visit to the newly refurbished headquarters of the Cuban NOC, there was a visit to the Coliseo de la Ciudad Deportiva, where the IOC President met a number of Olympic Solidarity scholarship-holders and other athletes and watched a sports demonstration. The day ended with a dinner hosted by the Deputy Prime Minister of Cuba, Jorge Luis Perdomo Di-Lella.

IOC President Bach visits Caribbean and Central American NOCs

The next day, the President attended the newly refurbished national stadium, funded by Olympic Solidarity and Panam Sport. He watched a range of track and field sports being demonstrated. Also present was Cuban 800m and 400m Olympic champion Alberto Juantorena.

Finally, in Cuba, President Bach met the President of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel. They discussed the contribution that sport can make to society, and the challenges Cuban athletes are facing in their preparations for the upcoming Pan American Games and the Olympic Games Paris 2024.

Arriving in Jamaica on 3 March, President Bach was welcomed by the President of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA), Christopher Samuda, members of the Executive Committee and some of the presidents of national sports federations.

At a sports demonstration the next day, the President met athletes from Olympic and non-Olympic sports. After the sports demonstration, the President spent more than an hour speaking with members of the JOA’s Athletes’ Commission and Olympians. They discussed the upcoming Olympic Games Paris 2024 and qualification events, as well as a number of other issues concerning athletes, from post-competition transition to the various support programmes being offered to athletes by Olympic Solidarity.

IOC President Bach visits Caribbean and Central American NOCs

The next stop was the Dominican Republic, where President Bach was welcomed in the capital, Santo Domingo, on 5 March by IOC member Luis Mejía Oviedo and the President of the NOC, Garibaldy Bautista.

On arrival he was welcomed at a dinner by the President of CRESO [Creando Suenos Olimpicos], Felipe Vicini Lluberes. The organisation brings together the leading companies to assist Olympic athletes in the country. It was an opportunity to discuss the assistance being given to the country’s athletes during and after their sporting careers.

The next day, on a visit to the headquarters of the NOC, the President met the Executive Board and there was a presentation and discussion of their work. He then met Olympic Solidarity scholarship-holders from the country and a number of young athletes, who spoke about the many issues they are facing. Later, the President inaugurated the new Centro Caribe Sport headquarters in Santo Domingo.

Before leaving the Dominican Republic, President Bach met the President of the country, Luis Abinader. They discussed the role of sport in society and its importance during the pandemic, and in particular the importance of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, in this respect. President Bach thanked President Abinader for his support for the United Nation resolution of 1 December (“Sport as an enabler of Sustainable Development”). President Abinader emphasised that his government wished to play an even more active role on this level, particularly with the “Friends of Sport” group at the United Nations.

Arriving in Puerto Rico on 7 March, President Bach was welcomed by the President of the NOC, Sara Rosario, and IOC member Richard Carrión.  At the headquarters of the NOC, Casa Olímpica, President Bach met the NOC Executive Board before meeting the Athletes’ Commission for an extensive Q&A session. The evening saw a celebration of the 75th anniversary of the recognition of the NOC of Puerto Rico.

To celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March, the President met a group of 70 female leaders and athletes. They discussed the role of women in sport and the many projects for empowerment. Later in the day, he attended various sports demonstrations and had a chance to meet and talk with many young athletes from the country.

IOC President Bach visits Caribbean and Central American NOCs

After meeting the Acting Head of State, Lieutenant Governor Omar Marrero, in San Juan, President Bach headed for a Puerto Rican school for young athletes where he met hundreds of pupils who are able to study whilst having the chance to train for their sports. Earlier, he was at the Albergue Olímpico, which also houses the Olympic Museum.

In Barbados on 8 March, President Bach was welcomed by the President of the NOC, Sandra Osborne, and IOC honorary member Sir Austin Sealy. Before touring a number of sports facilities and meeting many young athletes, the President met Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley and President Sandra Mason. With the Prime Minister, the IOC President discussed the very positive development of sport in Barbados.

President Bach was also happy to hear that, in her UN role as Co-Chair of the Sustainable Development Goals Advocates Group, the Prime Minister also very much appreciated the Olympic Movement’s role in delivering the Sustainable Development Goals. The two agreed on close cooperation in this respect.

The next day, the President opened the National Primary Schools Athletic Championships (NAPSAC) in Bridgetown. Hundreds of pupils were in attendance for the finals, which brought together young athletes from all over the island. President Bach was able to meet many of them and presented the first medals.

The last leg of the visit to the region took President Bach to Aruba on 10 March, where he was welcomed by IOC Vice-President Nicole Hoevertsz and NOC President Wanda Broeksema. Arriving in Aruba, the President met the Governor of the island, J A Boekhoudt, and then the island’s Council of Ministers, headed by the country’s Prime Minister, Evelyn Wever-Croes. They discussed the important role that sport can play in society to instil values with regard to education, health and sustainable development.

Later, the President met the Executive Board of the NOC and also took part in discussions with the local business community and sponsors. The next day, he officially opened the new NOC headquarters and took part in the celebrations that included sports demonstrations by hundreds of young athletes from the island in 16 different sports.

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