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Ahead of Tokyo Games, Iran appoints new Olympic chief

Iraq’s national Olympic Committee on Saturday elected its former treasurer Sarmad Abdelilah as president, filling a vacancy that threatened to jeopardize the country’s participation at next year’s Tokyo Games.

The embattled organization had been suspended and put under the supervision of the International Olympic Committee after a long-running conflict with the sports ministry.

The 46-year-old Abdelilah, an ex-international swimmer, received 19 votes, with 17 for outgoing president Raad Hammoudi, the former Iraq goalkeeper elected to lead the committee for a second time in 2019.

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“The task that awaits promises to be difficult, we will have to put the whole of Iraqi sport back on track,” said Abdelilah following his election at a Baghdad hotel.

Iraq’s Olympic Committee was dissolved by US-led occupation forces in 2003 because it was led by Uday Hussein, the son of former dictator Saddam Hussein.

The committee regrouped with new members and was active for 15 years until the outgoing youth minister suddenly cancelled its 2018 membership elections.

The ministry claimed the committee’s status was never properly re-established after 2003, adding that its finances should therefore be managed by the ministry.

Iraq’s national Olympic Committee on Saturday elected its former treasurer Sarmad Abdelilah as president, filling a vacancy that threatened to jeopardize the country’s participation at next year’s Tokyo Games.

The embattled organization had been suspended and put under the supervision of the International Olympic Committee after a long-running conflict with the sports ministry.

The 46-year-old Abdelilah, an ex-international swimmer, received 19 votes, with 17 for outgoing president Raad Hammoudi, the former Iraq goalkeeper elected to lead the committee for a second time in 2019.

“The task that awaits promises to be difficult, we will have to put the whole of Iraqi sport back on track,” said Abdelilah following his election at a Baghdad hotel.

Iraq’s Olympic Committee was dissolved by US-led occupation forces in 2003 because it was led by Uday Hussein, the son of former dictator Saddam Hussein.

The committee regrouped with new members and was active for 15 years until the outgoing youth minister suddenly cancelled its 2018 membership elections.

The ministry claimed the committee’s status was never properly re-established after 2003, adding that its finances should therefore be managed by the ministry.

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