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White House "disappointed" about IOC's ban on Iraq for Olympics
10:00, July 25, 2008

The White House was "disappointed" that Iraq was banned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) from taking part in the Beijing Olympic games next month, a spokesperson said on Thursday.

"I'm sure that the Iraqi athletes -- who have trained so hard, and were finally going to represent a country that is free, and sovereign, and working to establish its democracy -- they have to be terribly disappointed and I'm disappointed for the athletes as well," Dana Perino said at a press conference.

The Iraqi government disbanded the national Olympic committee and other sport bodies in May and established a new panel headed by Iraqi Youth and Sports Minister Jassem Jaafar.

The IOC initially suspended Iraq in June for its government's "political interference" in the national Olympic committee but there were still up to seven Iraqi athletes who were believed to participate in the Beijing Olympic games under the Olympic flag.

However, in a letter addressed to Jaafar on Wednesday, the IOC made clear that Iraq athletes have been all stripped of quota places to the Olympic Games in Beijing starting Aug. 8.


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