Olympic News Roundup

By Phillip Whitten

March 23. THE following is a roundup of important news relating to the Olympics:

ALL IN THE COMMONWEALTH: AUSSIE THROWS HIS SUPPORT TO CANADA'S POUND

Kevan Gosper, an IOC Vice President has taken
the unprecedented step of publicly declaring his preferred candidate to replace Juan Antonio Samaranch as IOC president, according to a report by Jacquelin Magnay, a leading Australian sports journalist.

Gosper threw his support to Canadian lawyer Richard Pound, a 1960 Olympian in swimming and an IOC vice president, as his choice to head the IOC.

"This comes as Mr Pound's main rival for the presidency,
Belgian knee surgeon Jacques Rogge, will tomorrow declare himself a candidate for the post," wrote Magnay.

IOC members have until April 10 to indicate their
candidacy. So far only American Anita de Frantz and Hungarian diplomat Pal Schmitt have put their names forward.

Despite the fact that Pound, ignoring the evidence of widespread Chinese doping–not to mention human rights violations–supported Beijing's bid in 1993 to host the 2000 Games. Nonetheless, Gosper said that he and Pound made a pact ten years ago to support each other.

TORONTO BIDDING FOR AFRICAN SUPPORT TO HOST 2008 GAMES

The votes of African delegates have been decisive in the awarding of the past two Olympic Games. That's why the Canadian government is busily spending money to build and reinforce sport links in Africa that could be crucial to the success of Toronto's 2008 Olympic bid, writes James Christie.

The Toronto Olympic Bid Corp., informally known as TO-Bid, wouldn't confirm the report since anticorruption rules preclude the buying of votes, but it appears happy to reap the benefits of the government's initiatives.

JAPAN RE-ELECTS YAGI TO HEAD OLYMPIC COMMITTEE

Correspondent Hideki Mochizuki reports that the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) decided today to retain Yushiro Yagi for new 2-year term as head of the organization. His re-election was unanimously approved by the JOC council members today.

The decision has raised concerns over how the JOC will reform an organization bafdly in need of reform. Many younger Japanese sports leaders were frustrated when the 71 year-old Yagi and the JOC amended the bylaws which had stipulated an age limit of 70 for presidential candidates.

In Japan, the JOC allocates funds to each of the country's sports federations, including swimming. The re-election of Yagi raises doubts that the JOC will fulfill its promise to bring in more young people into the organization and its staff.

Yoshiro Yagi, who is also vice president of the Japan Ski Association, became JOC secretary-general in 1995 and took over the presidency from Hironoshin Furuhashi, who is currently president of the Japanese Swimming Federation.
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