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IOC opposes any kind of boycott of Olympic Games
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21:54, April 02, 2008

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The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is against any kind of boycott of the Beijing Games, senior IOC members said here on Wednesday.

"We don't support any form of boycotts. The IOC, the National Olympic Committees, the international federations, the organizing committee will move forward to deliver these games," Kevan Gosper told Xinhua.

There were increased calls recently for a boycott of the Beijing Olympics, but Gosper said that the IOC had not received any formal letter of withdrawal and he was confident that all the NOCs would take part in the Aug. 8-24 Games.

"We have not heard any responsible authorities talking about not bringing their teams. We heard talks only in newspapers. But that's different," said Gosper, vice chairman of the IOC's coordination commission.

"Boycott only hurts the athletes. We are confident the games will go ahead and all the NOCs will not pull out," he added.

Though some athletes were reportedly considering skipping this summer's event in the Chinese capital, the IOC press commission chief brushed aside these reports, saying individual choices should be respected but they could not represent all.

"It's their own business. Every individual athlete has a right to decide at any time," said Gosper.

"But the teams haven't (pull out). There will be 10,500 athletes, and the big majority of the athletes have been training for the games for four years and they want to come to the games."

His remarks were echoed by another IOC member, Alex Gilady, who is also here for a three-day meeting between the IOC's coordination commission and Beijing Olympics organizers.

"I have only heard non-governmental organizations (talking about boycotts). Also, many of them support the games," said Gilady.

Gilady, a former journalist and TV sports commentator, stressed that the athletes are the only victims of boycotts of the Olympic Games.

"We have to remember why we are organizing the games. We cannot punish the athletes of the world and we will not stand for any boycott... and there will be no boycott," he said.

The Israeli also suggested that the media should not make a fuss about some athletes' decisions of withdrawing from the Olympic Games.

"It's not obligatory to attend the Olympic Games for the athletes, or for the spectators, or for the broadcasters," he said.

"You are doing it if you want to. If you don't want, you don't come. Very simple."

Source: Xinhua

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