Parsons, Watanabe among nine members elected at IOC Session

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International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President, Andrew Parsons

International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Andrew Parsons and International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) head Morinari Watanabe were among the nine elected as members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at the Session a few days ago.

Parsons and Watanabe, whose membership is tied to their roles with their International Federations, received 71 and 76 votes respectively.

All five proposed for individual membership were elected, including Italian National Olympic Committee head Giovanni Malagò, who will officially become part of sport’s most exclusive club from January 1.

This is because there are already two individual members from Italy – Franco Carraro and Mario Pescante, whose term concludes at the end of the year.

The Italian is joined by Lithuanian Olympic Committee President Daina Gudzineviciute, Camilo Perez López Moreira, President of the Paraguayan Olympic Committee, Samira Asghari, a peace and human rights advocate in Afghanistan who is a member of the IOC Athletes’ Entourage Commission, and first vice-president of the Rwanda National Olympic and Sports Committee Felicite Rwemarika.

William Blick and Prince Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck, Presidents of the NOCs in Uganda and Bhutan respectively, were also elected with comfortable majorities.

Their membership is linked to their functions as the head of their respective NOCs.

Today’s vote sees the number of IOC members go above the 100 marks.

“So far, my responsibility has just been for the FIG but now I must help oversee the whole sports movement,” Watanabe said after his election.

“It is a heavy responsibility but I must do it.”

Asghari claimed her election as an IOC member was a “big moment” for Afghanistan.

“I feel this is a chance for me to make my desire and dreams come true,” the 24-year-old, the IOC’s only member from Afghanistan, said.

“I did not think I could become a part of the IOC but I have the experience both nationally and internationally.

“These are very happy moments to me.

“This is not only a big moment for Afghanistan that they have an IOC member but of course it is a great chance and opportunity.”

In other key decisions, Ivo Ferriani, the President of the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation, officially secured a place on the IOC’s ruling Executive Board.

The Italian was the only candidate for the role of winter sports representative on the body and replaces outgoing member Gian-Franco Kasper, who was awarded honorary membership by the IOC today.

Italy’s Mario Pescante, a former vice-president, Tunku Imran of Malaysia and South African Sam Ramsamy also became honorary members.

A change in status for the membership of Seoul 1988 Olympic pole vault champion Sergey Bubka’s status was also approved.

Bubka’s role as an IOC member is linked to his function as President of the Ukraine National Olympic Committee (NOC) but he has now become an individual member.

It means he will remain a part of the club even if he ceases to be the head of his NOC.

International Triathlon Union President Marisol Casado of Spain, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar, and Prince Faisal of Jordan were all re-elected for fresh eight-year terms as members.

St Lucia’s Richard Peterkin and New Zealand’s Barry Maister’s period as IOC members concludes at the end of this year and both will be awarded the Olympic Order at the Session in Switzerland next year.

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