Pacific Island state now a member of the IOC5 February 2006
The tiny Marshall Islands in the Pacific will become an official member of the Olympic family later this week.
The IOC Executive Board meeting in Torino ahead of the Winter Olympics has accepted the Marshall Islands as the 203rd National Olympic Committee to join the IOC.
They will be formally endorsed by the IOC members attending the 118th session on Wednesday.
The President of the Oceania National Olympic Committee’s Kevan Gosper has been the driving force behind their admittance, “they have shown they are ready.”
“The Marshall Islands now stand shoulder to shoulder with all the other Pacific Island nations including Australian and New Zealand as an Olympic nation” he said.
“They are now inside the most prestigious sporting organisation in the world”.
The Marshall Islands with a population of sixty thousand will now receive IOC funding of $150,000 US a year through Olympic solidarity to develop sport in their country.
“Today’s decision opens up an opportunity for young athletes in the Marshall Islands to aspire to represent their country at the Olympic Games” Gosper said.
The Marshall Islands will be the 16th National Olympic Committee in the Oceania group.
“It is a great milestone, at the Melbourne Olympics in 1956 there were just three nations representing Oceania, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji” Gosper said.