Khartoum — Chairman of the Sudan Olympic Committee (SOC) Hashim Haroon has urged the government to extend due support to ready the country for the 2020 Tokyo Olympiad. In an interview with Sudanow Magazine Haroon also urged the country's Olympic unions to revive their activities and seek local support and sponsorships for more action in the coming stage.
He also said the International Football Federation (FIFA) was lenient with the Sudan in the recent football crisis that saw the country's football activity frozen and then reinstated as a result of clear violation of the FIFA regulations on the part of the Sudanese football community. INTERVIEW:
Q: How are things going on at the Sudan Olympic Committee?
A: As you may know, the elections of the Sudan Olympic Committee were held in March with the election of the committee officers and its executive office in keeping with the basic statute adopted by the general assembly and endorsed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Now we have two levels: the general assembly and the executive office that reports to the general assembly. According to the new statute we have a first deputy committee chairman, a secretary and assisting committees which have now started action. We were faced with a problem represented in the failure of the IOC to transfer our dues because of the U.S sanctions against our country. But this problem was overcome by the naming of a new bank which will channel the money to our committee.
Q: Tell us about the volume of the IOC financial support to Sudan?
A: Our committee receives an annual USD 85.000 in support from the IOC and, in addition, the IOC boosts projects we present via the international Olympic Solidarity Commission. We also receive support for the National Olympic Committee projects such as the project for the distribution of sports equipment to the internally displaced persons in Darfur. The bid is to integrate these IDPs in the society. The United Nations/African Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) has agreed to cooperate with us in this project under the motto: "No War No More, Sports Is the Core." We have received USD 327.500 from the IOC for this project. That was an initial assistance for the project which will be implemented in three phases that will include the distribution of equipment, the holding of athletic contests and the training of participants through the project ' Darfur's African Olympiad'. This project is part of our committee's social responsibility. We have also signed memos of understanding with the Darfur Regional Authority and some other concerned bodies. The project will start in November. In this respect I would like to thank the Sudan National Committee's Former Chairman, who is also Secretary of The Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa ANOCA, Eng. Ahmad Abulgasim, who still keeps support to the project. We also thank Sultan Hassan Bargu and the former chairman of the Darfur Regional Authority Tijani Seisi.
Q: The Tokyo Olympiad is drawing closer. What are your preparations for this event?
A: We are planning to launch the Olympiad's committee and file its names to the President of the Republic in the coming few days. Two days ago we discussed the strategies of Olympic action, including Sudan's participation in the Tokyo Olympiad. This work demands government support. Also the local unions have to prepare well for the event by contesting harshly in regional and continental qualifiers, such as the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games and the Arab championship in Algeria.
The First Vice President has pledged to help rally aid from businesses for this purpose. The local unions are responsible for selecting and training their players with the help of the national committee.
Q: What are your committee's most outstanding projects?
A: We have pending projects from the previous term. The reason for this is shortage of finance. We have so far organized the Olympic day in the Nahr el Neel State, which was a success by all means. That Olympic day had opened for us new horizons of cooperation with the Nahr el Neel State. We seize this opportunity to thank the State's Government, its legislative assembly and Eddamar youth secretariat for their cooperation. We are also planning an Olympic week this year under the sponsorship of the First Vice President, who already endorsed its budget, which is unfortunately still lingering in the coffers of the Ministry of Finance. This week can sure create a big movement among the country's young generations and help discover new youth talents.
Q: What about the Olympic Champion Project?
A: We have asked the local unions to provide us with names of talented players as advised by the Minister of Sports. But the unions' response was very poor. The Olympic week championship was within the framework of what we talked about very much with the Sports Minister as a gateway for discovering new champions. In addition, we plan to benefit from the memos signed with the Japanese Embassy here that agreed to support our athletes. The Olympic committee is responsible for monitoring the activity of sports unions as stipulated in the Olympic Charter. We reaffirm that we will never again support a local union that has no activity. The unions should first seek support and sponsorships in their local regions and, then, we can support them.
We have requested the State of Khartoum to allocate for us an area of 100,000 square meters on which we can build an Olympic village. It is our hope that the government includes Olympic infrastructures in its budgets. We also hope to benefit from our ties with the Qatari and Italian Olympic committees in implementing our Olympic infrastructures.
Q: Was your general assembly exemplary?
A: We asked the local unions to put their houses in order along with their basic statutes and the statute of the IOC. But unfortunately some unions were unable to do so. Here we must recall the recent football crisis in Sudan that led our country to be banned by FIFA. It is my conviction that the FIFA was very lenient with Sudan and allowed the country to return to the world of International football despite the irregularities that took place. Sudan is rich in qualified cadres and we just need to be objective and transparent.
Q: Tell us about the role of the Olympic Academy in cadre training.
A: Honestly, the Academy was launched very recently. In our meeting with the Academy's Principal Majid Tala'at Fareed he promised to devise a variety of programs in the upcoming stage. On other activities, committee secretary Husam Hashim will take part in the meeting of the national African Olympic committees in Cape Verde in October and also in the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) meeting in Prague in November to elect a new chair for (ANOCA).
Q: One last message?
A: We need to energize the role of our committees such as the medical committee, chaired by Dr. Ahmad al-Jamal and the sports and environment committee, chaired by Lt. General Omar Nimir whom we consider a true addition to the national Olympic committee. We will go ahead with our projects that started with the Nahr el Neel's Africa Olympiad project. Other projects which we will implement are the project for planting one million fruit trees, a tree for every home project as well as green belts at the Bajrawiyya tourist cite. All these activities are in the Nahr el Neel State and it is our hope that other regional unions should move and implement their projects in order to push Olympic action forward.