Skip to main content

South Sudan 2012 Olympics entrant: competitor without a country



For the first time at the Olympic Games, competitors without a country will compete. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) granted approval for a South Sudanese competitor to compete at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, to commence on July 27.

Guor Marial will run as an independent athlete in clothing without a country flag or identification. He will race under the Olympic flag. The 28-year-old will compete in the marathon which takes place on August 12.

Marial’s country of birth, South Sudan, gained independence a year ago and is yet to form a national Olympic committee. His country of current destination is America. Marial, a permanent resident in America, is in the process of gaining American citizenship. However, he is not yet a US citizen and cannot therefore run under the United States flag.

The IOC told the sports minister of South Sudan, Cireno Hiteng Ofuho, that for South Sudanese competitors and teams to compete at The Games, they would have to compete under the Sudan flag. This was because, according to strict IOC rules, a country needs two years to register.

Two other South Sudanese athletes in Australia qualified and could run under the Australian flag, but they declined because they wanted to be recognized as South Sudanese. A Paralympic basketball team in South Sudan have also missed out on a chance to represent their country because they did not want to compete under the Sudan flag. Marial too, was told to run under the Sudan flag, but he refused. Sudan invited eligible South Sudanese competitors to join their team.

Guor Marial reached the Olympic qualification time for the marathon in October 2011 and has since improved his personal best time in San Diego in June 2012, finishing in two hours 12 minutes and 55 seconds (2:12:55). The Olympic men’s marathon record is 2:06:32, set by Kenyan runner Samuel Kamau Wanjiru at the 2008 Olympics. The world record of 2:03:38 belongs to Kenyan runner Patrick Makau at the Berlin Marathon on 25 September 2011.

The IOC made a decision regarding Guor Marial on July 20 to enable him to compete. Three other athletes from the former Netherlands Antilles will also compete under the Olympic flag.

South Sudan became a United Nations and African Union member this year, and joined the international football federation FIFA. They played their first international friendly against Uganda on July 10, a day after celebrating their first anniversary of independence. Known as the Bright Stars, coached by Serbian Zoran Djordjevic, the team drew 2-2 with Uganda. FIFA permitted South Sudan to qualify, but the IOC’s regulations are much stricter.


Source: ANP/AFP & BBC; Photo: Iowa State University

Martina Nicolls is the author of The Sudan Curse

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Numismatic Treasury: show me the money!

On 10 March 2016 the Georgian National Museum launched a permanent exhibition (to 10 March 2030) called Numismatic Treasury – and its all about money. The Simon Janashia Museum of the Georgian National Museum will showcase the country’s history of money circulation from the 6th century BCE to 1834. Numismatic Treasury is an extension of the previous exhibition opened in 2013 in the Svaneti Museum. Now the collection will be accommodated in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, which will represent a large-scale unique collection that covers over 20 centuries of coin minting history. The collection includes about 3,500 silver, gold, and copper coins, such as the Colchian tetri (the nations first coins) and the denarius of the first Roman Emperor Octavian. There are also coins used by the Bagrations, David IV the Builder, Queen Rusudan, and other noted kings and queens. Overall the museum has up to 100,000 coins, most of which were found within Georgia, with many unearthed du

Giraffe knees: giraffes sitting

https://similarbutdifferentanimals.com/2018/02/16/how-do-giraffes-sit-down/ MARTINA NICOLLS is an international aid and development consultant, and the  author of:-  Similar But Different in the Animal Kingdom (2017), The Shortness of Life: A Mongolian Lament (2015), Liberia’s Deadest Ends (2012), Bardot’s Comet (2011), Kashmir on a Knife-Edge (2010) and The Sudan Curse (2009).

The acacia thorn trees of Kenya

There are nearly 800 species of acacia trees in the world, and most don’t have thorns. The famous "whistling thorn tree" and the Umbrella Thorn tree of Kenya are species of acacia that do have thorns, or spines. Giraffes and other herbivores normally eat thorny acacia foliage, but leave the whistling thorn alone. Usually spines are no deterrent to giraffes. Their long tongues are adapted to strip the leaves from the branches despite the thorns. The thorny acacia like dry and hot conditions. The thorns typically occur in pairs and are 5-8 centimetres (2-3 inches) long. Spines can be straight or curved depending on the species. MARTINA NICOLLS is an international aid and development consultant, and the author of:- Similar But Different in the Animal Kingdom (2017), The Shortness of Life: A Mongolian Lament (2015), Liberia’s Deadest Ends (2012), Bardot’s Comet (2011), Kashmir on a Knife-Edge (2010) and The Suda