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08.06.2005 Sports News

Prez to be honoured by IOC

By Statesman

PRESIDENT John Agyekum Kufuor is to be honoured with the Olympic Order Award by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) during the 9th Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) General Assembly in Accra on June 17.

The Award, the highest of the IOC, would be presented by IOC President, Jacques Rogge, at a State Banquet in recognition of President Kufuor's “outstanding services to the Olympic Movement”.

This was contained in a letter signed by the IOC President and copied to the President of the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC), Benson T Baba. The letter addressed to President Kufuor states: “It is my pleasure to inform you that the Council of the Olympic Order and the IOC Executive Board have decided to award you the Olympic Order for the outstanding services to the Olympic Movement. I will be very much pleased to award you this Olympic Order during my forthcoming visit to your country, on the occasion of the X1 ANOCA General Assembly in June 2005”.

Meanwhile, the U K Government has decided to boost London's bid to catch Paris and stage the 2012 Summer Games by lobbying members of the International Olympic Committee over the next month.

Culture Secretary, Tessa Jowell, who announced this in London's Docklands yesterday, said: “Our focus for the next 30 days has got to be on the 177 IOC members. They're the electorate and it's their hearts and minds we have to win. We'll be doing everything we can to show them our passion, our competence and the technical excellence of our bid”.

Mr Jowell, who would this weekend lobby governments at a conference on sports and international development in Zambia, would have visited 14 countries from May 26 through July 6.

Bid teams, made of Paris, London, New York, Madrid and Moscow, have a sixth and final opportunity to press their cases directly to IOC members during the two-day ANOCA general assembly in Accra on June 17.

Prime Minister Tony Blair will attend the meeting in Singapore as London, hosts in 1908 and 1948, seeks to win over wavering IOC members. London has the support of 35, compared with 50 backing Paris, according to the Guardian newspaper.

“Blair's government will also use the Olympic bid to promote the wider benefits of sports”, Jowell said.

She added: “We'll be taking the message about the very high level government support to countries across the world”, she said. “We'll be talking about the power of sports for good and in terms of the health benefits it could bring to Africa”.

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