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January 19, 2013

Wikinews interviews Spain\’s most decorated Paralympian, Teresa Perales

Wikinews interviews Spain’s most decorated Paralympian, Teresa Perales

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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Zaragoza, Spain — On Thursday, Wikinews traveled to Zaragoza, Spain to interview the nation’s most decorated Paralympian and IPC Athlete Council representative Teresa Perales. A wide range of topics about the Paralympics and sport in Spain were discussed including the evolution of Paralympic sport, disability sport classification, funding support across all levels of elite sport including the Paralympics and Olympics, the role of sportspeople in politics, sponsorship issues, and issues of gender in Spanish sport.

Wikinews reporter LauraHale interviews Spanish Paralympic swimmer Teresa Perales

Evolution of the Paralympics[]

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png Hi this is Laura Hale and I’m interviewing Teresa Perales (Raystorm translating), the most decorated Spanish paralympian of all time, and we’re in Zaragoza. And you’re from Zaragoza, right?

Teresa Perales in Zaragoza on Thursday
Image: LauraHale.

Teresa Perales :Yes, I’m from Zaragoza.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngSo, are you confident that Madrid is going to get the 2020, and are you going to stay around?

Teresa Perales : (laughs) I’d love to. I participated in the bid for Madrid 2016. It was a pity we didn’t get them, and I hope now it is our chance. But I don’t think I will be competing in them.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngYou first competed in 2000. Has there been a big change from 2000 to London that you’ve noticed like in terms of the atmosphere, or even the level of sport and issues of classification?

Teresa Perales : Yes, especially in the level of sport. Our sport is more professional, there are more countries that dedicate more resources, and it is much more professional than in 2000. I’ve seen an evolution, in Sydney times that were gold medal now didn’t make it to the finals. Another very important change has been the media coverage, at an international level and specially in Spain. Here in Spain for the first time we’ve had more than 14 hours of daily coverage of the Games. We’ve had specific programmes and general coverage, and that has been completely different than in Beijing, Athens, Sydney and previous others. It’s been the first time that we’ve been featured in the main pages of newspapers and opened the first minutes of the tv news. Regarding organization, I don’t think there’s been much change. I think Sydney organised the Games wonderfully well. Athens wasn’t very good, at all. Beijing was amazing: the organization was A plus, volunteers were A plus, everyone was A plus. It was fantastic. And London was like… I’m now using a new term, which it no longer is integration or normalization, it is naturally. As in, now everyone does see us the same, just exactly like the Olympians. Not for our disabilities. The biggest change I’ve seen is how people look at me, for example, it now is: I’ve won 22 medals. I am the sportsperson with more medals in Spanish History. And this has been recognised at an institutional and social level. This year I will receive the Gran Cruz al Mérito Deportivo, the highest honor that a sportsperson can achieve in Spain. It never before had been conceded to a paralympic sportsperson, ever. Many national awards, which weren’t possible for sportspeople with disabilities, national awards from newspapers, associations, clubs or town halls. It’s a radical change.((es))

Sponsorship[]

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngI went to London, and the quality of sport — you didn’t go there and say, that’s a person in a wheelchair. You went, fall down guy in a wheelchair, because the sport was so great. There was no embarrassment like the Olympics where they let the people from Lesotho swim in the pool. [The level of sport] was very equitable [at the Paralympics]. In Australia, there was discussion amongst the Paralympians with the issue of sponsorship because sport is becoming so elite. Do you think Paralympians should be getting sponsorship and on the same level that their able-bodied counterparts are?

Interior panorama of the London Aquatics Centre, one of the venues of the 2012 Paralympic Games.
Image: Alexander Kachkaev.

Teresa Perales : Of course. Yes, I hope, some day. Here in Spain… I don’t know well other countries, how they work, I know the financial recognition they get after the Games, but I don’t know the level of sponsorship the sportspeople have. ((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngYeah I was asking you about Spain, the Australians are why I asked.

Teresa Perales : Ah, ok. In Spain we have a law, which has to be improved, which is the Law on Patronage (“Ley del Mecenazgo”) which regulates the way in which companies sponsor a sportsperson or an event and receive tax deductions in exchange. For example, sponsoring the ADO Paralympian Plan. It’s a special plan for Olympians and a plan for Paralympians. The financial support for a Paralympian and for an Olympian is very different. The amount for a Paralympian is a tenth of that of an Olympian. For example, all my medals in London, which were a gold, three silvers and two bronzes, are financially equivalent to one Olympic bronze medal. Very different. Companies prefer to sponsor the event, the plan, before the sportsperson, because they receive more advantages for that. This is in the case of the Paralympians: for Olympians, it is more usual for companies to sponsor sportspeople. For Beijing and London I had a sponsor, Arena, the swimsuit brand, who gave me swimsuits to compete with. For London they gave me three. [Laughs]((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngIs there any difference between men and women?

Teresa Perales : Only in the financial support of the clubs. Of course, that doesn’t affect us because we do not get money from the clubs. For example, Mireia Belmonte has an ADO sponsorhip, a Federations sponsorship, and well now she has problems with her club because she wanted to get the same amount of money as the men, and so she left the club. But she gets money from three places: ADO, Federation, and club. In our case it’s ADO only.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngIn the US, the system is, you need sponsorship to get to the elite level. In Australia, the government funds Olympians and Paralympians equally. Like goalball players got 7,000 dollars each, so it is interesting to find out how Spain differs.

Teresa Perales : Yes, but then, here in Spain we have to make a disctintion: we have the ADO Paralympic Plan since 2005, and the first time we perceived money, rewards for medals and ADO Plan, was after Beijing. Very recently.((es))

Classification[]

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngAs someone who watched the Paralympics, classification was a huge issue. Mallory Weggemann was an American [Paralympic swimmer] who got reclassified at the Games and the Americans were really upset, and the Australians have said classifiers have won them more medals than the athletes themselves. How important is classification for you and are you happy with the system that exists for swimming?

Teresa Perales : Well, since I am also a representative of the Athlete’s Council at the International Paralympic Committee, this is a topic we have discussed there. We think that it is important than in the Olympic year, especially in the last months, and above all during the Games, there should be no classifications. Exactly to avoid these cases, in which sportspeople go up a category or down a category, and mess up the ranking. There have been many cases, in Spain we’ve had cases of people losing a medal because of a reclassification. We are worried about that and by the way in which events, the places to hold the competition, are selected during the Paralympic Games. ((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngIn Atlanta it was really bad…

Teresa Perales : Yes, some even were unable to compete because they were not able to get to the place of the event.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngSome of the people with the Paralympic movement think understanding classification is key towards moving the Games forward, like how do you convey that to the public, how classification works, so when somebody sees you, an S5 swimmer, they go, ‘we got times like this, but the S1 swimmers, this, and I can’t see much of a difference’.

Teresa Perales : Yes, that is one of the problems we have. In fact, it is the biggest problem for having in the future an open class system, a system in which all classes were able to compete together. One of the issues that was being evaluated since before London had to do with the events, not the place but the event, for example 50m butterfly, why now yes and before no, or why before yes and now not? One of the systems proposed, to avoid events from having to disappear, is unifying several categories. In other words, to have one class, but open. ((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngLike skiiing?

Teresa Perales : Yes. It’s similar. Yes, yes, similar to that. They are thinking of doing something similar in swimming, athletics, cycling… in sports with many people. This arises because we have a limited number of people who can participate in the Games, which is 4,000. 4,200, total. It’s 10,000 Olympians, while we are 4,000. And this is an agreement with the Olympic Committee. The Paralympic Committee makes a deal with the Olympic Committee, and that’s why we cannot exceed 4,000, and why some events have to be eliminated. To eliminate events, there is the option to concentrate the classes. But there is a big problem, because the public would not understand me competing against a swimmer who is only missing a hand, because she would obviously beat me. Imagine that I really do beat her not because I arrive before her, but because my time, due to the correction percentages or whatever, is held to be the winner, even if however I came in last position. ((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngThat happened in cycling. Set a World Record, did not win a medal.

Teresa Perales : Yes, I know. Yes, but they have, like in ski. In ski what they do is, time goes slower depending in which category you are in, so that at the end it is the same. Then the public really see that the time is going down and they are seeing a timer, seeing the time slowing down, but at the end they are seeing the same time. Then they see who’s won because they can see the time. The problem happens in sports in which several of us compete simultaneously, eight lanes. It’s difficult to understand.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngHave you ever had any problems with in your career where they’ve said…?

Teresa Perales : No. At first I was in New Zealand, I was S6, and then in 2000? No, in 1999, in the European Championships, I was reclassified, and now I am S5, SB4, and SM5, because they saw my arm is not very good.((es))

Mixing sport and politics[]

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngIn the US, there is a view that celebrities and sportspeople should stay out of politics because… they’re dumb.

Teresa Perales : [Laughs]. Okay, this doesn’t happen in Spain.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png Should sportspeople be involved and do Paralympians especially, should they be more involved because of the nature of the sport they are doing in politics, and is it something in Spain and should be done elsewhere in the world… Should there be a call for more Paralympians in politics? Because you protested in Madrid…

Teresa Perales : Yes!((es))

Paralympic swimmer Teresa Perales with Miguel Carballeda; the president of the Spanish Paralympic Committee told IOC inspectors Madrid would stage the “greatest Paralympic Games ever.”
Image: Atr1992.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngAnd you were a politician.

Teresa Perales : I was, I was. [Laughs] No, I worked in politics, I really wasn’t a politician. I believe that when you want things to change, and when you believe that there is something that has to change, you need to be part of the change. And that’s why I entered politics. That’s why I think that it is important that people get involved in politics. And not only… In my case, I didn’t get in for sports politics, I got in for general politics, because I believed there were several things that could be improved or that should be changed, and that’s why I got in. And I believe that sportspeople are very qualified, because, let me give an example. Me, that I spend seven days a week, six hours every day training, seeing the floor and walls, I just can do whatever I want in this life.[Laughs] I know I am not going to go down in the dumps if I have a problem, because while training I know that things may not work out the first day, the second, the third, but someday they will, right? And that’s what sportspeople contribute to any job, and especially to politics. I defend what sportspeople can contribute, I’ve given conference talks on what a sportsperson can contribute to a company, and what a sportsperson can contribute to politics is the same because it is also a job and a company, right? It’s how to manage resources: I manage my resources every day to get the most out of me. I also manage my emotions, because I am a whole. I am a physical whole, but also an emotional whole. And I know I can make decisions in a matter of seconds. I do it every time I compete. My 50m event takes 35 seconds. It’s 35 seconds. Four years, seven days a week, six hours every day for 35 seconds. So I can make decisions and work really well in politics or in whatever I want to. ((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngBecause they are disabled, and the way society treats people with disabilities, sets Paralympians off from able-bodied athletes, does that make it special emphasis that they should be more engaged in the political process than someone like Michael Phelps?

Teresa Perales : Yes, because… I had something very clear when I worked in politics, and it’s that you cannot make policies without the people to whom they are directed. It’s necessary for the people to whom they are destined work in politics, because that will ensure they are right. If not, no. And the people with disabilities, especially sportspeople with disabilities, that we care least of all about the disabilities really, we’ve had to overcome so many things, that we are able to contribute so much more.((es))

Funding Spanish sport[]

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngThe Spanish Paralympic Committee is supported primarily by the Government?

Teresa Perales : No, for us it is the Government and companies. Both do the ADO Paralympic Plan.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngDo they give you as an athlete the support that you need to be successful?

Teresa Perales : No. No, absolutely not. I don’t have a lane for swimming every day, only for me. I have to share it with other, not athletes, not swimmers, people, who come to the swimming pool and then swim, or try to swim. I cannot afford to pay a lane exclusively for my use. It’s 30 euros per hour. I have to pay the ticket for the swimming pool, I have to pay all my travels, not with the national team, but my travels for qualifiers, and I can’t pay my coach, who is in another swimming pool, in another center, because I can’t. Okay, I have to be fair: the ADO Plan pays me 1,900 euros monthly, but I’m a mother, I have a family. I have to pay the school, everything. So this is not enough for me. I have to pay someone to take care of my child when I am competing, when I am in the stages. I remember this year, preparing London, I needed to be out of home for 22 days, twice, ok? I needed to pay someone for being with my baby, and it’s very expensive. So it’s not enough. I win gold so I have this kind of money — is the same [as] sixth place in [the] Olympics. Someone who was sixth at the Olympics has the same as me with a gold medal. I was recently at the Congress of Deputies, and I was talking about this.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngIs the Spanish Paralympic Committee working to fix this? Is it one of their goals to adjust this problem?

Teresa Perales : Yes, but the Spanish Paralympic Committee are… Let me count.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngThey said six…

Teresa Perales : Yeah. [Laughs] It is true that the companies who support us, who support the ADO Paralympian Plan, it’s been easier to get them to sign again after London than those of the Olympians. But then again, it’s because the quantities are smaller!((es))

Being an elite female athlete[]

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngIn other interviews you talk about your family life. That’s interesting, but you are an elite female athlete, and there’s other interesting questions. Is there anything…?

Teresa Perales : As female Paralympians, I think we are one, two, three, four. Four Paralympian mothers. Only. That we go to the Games. ((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngHow many women total, then?

Teresa Perales : Puf, I don’t know. It is very difficult, you know, to be a mother, train, compete, be at the stages, take care of the kid… sometimes it’s a balancing act. Apart from the physical changes that take place when you become a mother. ((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngParalympics in some sports have many fewer women than men, especially skiing. Is that something that exists in swimming, and does it hurt the quality of sport? Because the men in the skiing are like, the women, they are so few of them, they embarrass us, is that something that exists on a swimming level?

Teresa Perales : Yes. But not only in Spain, in the whole world.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngPeople say that women don’t swim as well as the men, because there’s so few?

Teresa Perales : We are very few. In Spain we had a problem before the Games due to the number of spots given to the Spanish women swimmers, which were a third of those offered to the men. And we had female swimmers who made the qualifying time but could not go to the Games. And in Spain qualifiers are hard, there are two kinds: A minimum and B minimum. I’m talking about swimming, athletics… Especially swimming. B minimum is until the eighth position, A minimum is until the third. So, there we women who would have made the finals, and could not go. But this is not a recent problem, it’s because of classification, at the World Championships… it’s not only a problem in Spain. It’s a problem that women do not participate as much as men. I really believe it is a family problem, a cultural problem, and it is a problem that comes from women traditionally doing more things than men and dedicating more time to their families than to training. A man doesn’t have to stop to have a child, usually has more support for the house things, and yet however women don’t.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngIn Australia they say, female sportswomen, fantastic, more medals! So they go for them. And that’s not the case here?

Teresa Perales : No. Not men or women. Only the medals. So if there’s a man who wins more medals, well, okay, the man. The problem is that this has to be potentiated before. It’s like the people with high support needs. There are fewer participants with high support needs, because it is much easier to tend to people with lesser disabilities. It’s like that.((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.pngYou’re really fascinating. It’s a completely different perspective. Is there anything else people should know about Paralympics in Spain, or you?

Teresa Perales : Well, to be fair I should say that my case is special because I’m in Aragón, in Zaragoza, we’re very few sportspeople with disabilities that make the Games. It’s not the same a sportsperson who lives in a city with a High Performance Center, they have it better than me. ((es))

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png I want to thank you a lot, thank you!



Related news[]

Sources[]

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June 29, 2012

African Olympians preparing for their London odyssey

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Friday, June 29, 2012

With only a few days before final nominations for spots to compete at the London Olympic Games and little less than a month until the start of them, African Olympians are trying to finalize their selections while preparing for their moment on the Olympic stage. Meanwhile, with two months before their own event, African Paralympians continue their own preparations this week including qualification competitions and tournaments that aide in team selection.

With a £25,000 grant on offer to any Olympic team willing to base themselves in the United Kingdom ahead of the Games, several national delegations took advantage of the opportunity to arrive early to train, acclimate and get the full Olympic experience. Gambia, Lesotho and Egypt are a few countries that took advantage of the grant program.

Eight Algerian boxers are making the trip to London, with Abdelhafid Benchebla leading his country’s Olympic delegation. La Tribune is optimistic about the opportunity for the country to capture its first Olympic boxing gold medal since the 2000 Sydney Games but worries that the country does not invest in its sports representatives until it is too late to improve their performance. Olympic judo medalist Ammar Benyekhlef will miss the London Games because of passport problems.

Algeria’s Paralympians are also preparing for London. Earlier this week, the national goalball team participated in a Lithuanian hosted tournament featuring teams from Lithuania, Finland, Sweden, Turkey, Brazil, Belgium, the United States of America and England. The team coach Mohamed Bettahrat talked about the tournament, saying to the French language Algerian papaer La Tribune, “A new opportunity to work with the great nations offered to us to optimize our preparation for the upcoming Paralympic Games. This is a great tournament that brings together renowned this time, the selections that will be present in London, one of our group.” tournament performance played a role in final team selection.

Egypt’s athletes will spend two weeks at the Forum sports complex in Antrim, Northern Ireland.

Gambia’s Olympians will prepare for the Games at the University of York’s Huntington Athletics Stadium.

Past Kenyan Olympians Joseph Kibunja and Henry Wanyoike in Hong Kong a few years ago
Image: Dennislo.

Mandatory Bristol based training has been arranged by the National Olympic Committee of Kenya for nation’s runners ahead of the Games but Kenya’s runners have implied this will disrupt their preparations. Middle-distance runner Silas Kiplagat is quoted in The Star of Nairobi in response to this mandate, “I’m not for the idea because all along, we have been training in high altitude and switching to the low altitude in Bristol is likely to be counter productive.” The Bristol idea is also opposed by Athletics Kenya, with the organization’s chairman Isaiah Kiplaga saying “The athletes have put in hard work for the last couple of months for the Olympic Games and Bristol being a low altitude area, it will hurt our medal hopes.” Kenya’s runners are expected to leave for London in two waves, with the first group leaving early next week and the second wave, which includes long distance runners, leaving closer to the start of the Games.

This past Saturday, Kenya’s Ezekiel Kemboi qualified for the London Games at the country’s national championships but his trip to the Games may be in jeopardy as two days ago, he was accused of stabbing a woman in Eldoret. According to Capital FM, Team Kenya has yet to issue a formal response to the allegations.

For two weeks, seven to nine Lesotho Olympians will prepare for the Games in north Wales, in Wrexham. Local Welshmen have been recruited to assist Lesotho competitors in their preparations for the Games, with local organizers looking for potential sparring partners if Lesotho qualifies a boxer. Two Lesotho marathon runners have already qualified. Swimmer Masempe Theko needs alternative arrangements because the Wrexham pool is only 25 meters, half the distance of the Olympic course pool. What strokes Theko will compete in at the Games is still to be determined.

At least two of Liberia‘s Olympians go into the Games having competed in their sports at universities in the United States. One attended University of Texas. Another, Jangy Addy, attended the University of Tennessee and will represent the country in the decathlon after having qualified for the event.

Malawi Olympians will be headed to London with their national Olympic committee under a cloud, with the Nyasa Times alleging corruption in the contractor bidding process for facilities and other monetary handouts. The Malawi delegation only manage to qualify its athletes through the Olympic solidarity movement, which allows athletes to compete by invitation after they failed to meet qualifying standards. Fourteen year old Joyce Tafatatha and twenty-three-year old Charlton Nyirenda will represent the country in swimming. Neither swimmer has swum in a 50 meter pool before, practicing in a 25 meter unheated pool at home in Malawi. Charlton goes into the game with a goal of breaking the Malawi record of 25.46 in the 50 meter freestyle swim. Rounding out the Malawi competitors are marathoners John Kayange and Mike Tebulo, and Ambwene Simukonda who will compete in the 400 meter track event. Arriving in London earlier this week, the team is training at University of Gloucestershire’s Oxstalls campus.

According to Nigeria Olympics Committee (NOC) President Sani Ndanusa, Nigeria’s athletics competitors go into the Games with medal expectations. In the lead up to London, the country’s Olympic hopefuls participated in most of the major track competitions. The national Olympic Committee has until next week to finalize the list of track and field competitors they will send to London, but they have already made the decision to only send competitors who have made Olympic A qualifying times and scores. The Committee wants to avoid the embarassment of Olympic B qualifying competitors doing poorly at the Games in front of a large population of Nigerians who live in the United Kingdom. One of the Nigerian Olympians has been able to prepare for the world stage by competing at University of Texas as an athlete. Nigeria’s national football team does not have to worry about Olympic preparations as they failed to qualify for the Games in what is seen as a major blow to football in the country.

Oscar Pistorius during 2011 World championships Athletics in Daegu
Image: Erik van Leeuwen.

South African Paralympian Oscar Pistorius‘s Olympic 400 metre qualifying time efforts have yet to meet with success. At a qualifying race in Benin two days ago, he finished second in a qualifying heat with a time of 46.32 seconds, 1.2 seconds slower than than the required time. He missed the qualifying time again in yesterday’s semi-final when he posted a time of 46.14 in another second place finish. He has one more opportunity to qualify for the Games before Sunday, when the qualification window closes. The double amputee’s efforts to make the Olympic Games has made international news following a 2011 ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport that deemed him able to compete against able bodied athletes.

South African triathlete Kate Roberts will be based in Davos until four days before the start of the Games. She will then travel to London, where she will familiarize herself with the Olympic course ahead of the start of her event. She asked The South African to ask South African fans to chant “Hou Bene Hou”, “Go Kate Go” and “Go Vrystaat!” when she is on the Olympic course.

With thirty days to go, the British ambassador assisted Zimbabwe Olympians and Paralympians with the biometric requirements for their passports and visas. When they arrive in London, their entry will be expedited. Rower Micheen Thornycroft‘s was one of the first of the Zimbawe Olympic athlete delegation to have her biometric data collected. Competitors will leave for London on July 15 with swimmer Kirsty Coventry, marathon runners Wirimayi Juwawo, Cutbert Nyasango and Sharon Tavengwa, triathlete Chris Felgate and rowers Jamie Fraser-Mackenzie and Thornycroft having already qualified but some spots for London still available at the African Senior Athletics Championships in Benin happening this week.

The 2012 London Games get under way on July 27 and will run until August 13.



Sources

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African Olympians and Paralympians prepare for their London odyssey

African Olympians and Paralympians prepare for their London odyssey

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Friday, June 29, 2012

With only a few days before final nominations for spots to compete at the London Olympic Games and little less than a month until the start of them, African Olympians are trying to finalize their selections while preparing for their moment on the Olympic stage. Meanwhile, with two months before their own event, African Paralympians continue their own preparations this week including qualification competitions and tournaments that aid in team selection.

With a £25,000 grant on offer to any Olympic team willing to base themselves in the United Kingdom ahead of the Games, several national delegations took advantage of the opportunity to arrive early to train, acclimate and get the full Olympic experience. Gambia, Lesotho, and Egypt are a few countries that took advantage of the grant program. Egypt’s athletes will spend two weeks at the Forum sports complex in Antrim, Northern Ireland. Gambia’s Olympians will prepare for the Games at the University of York’s Huntington Athletics Stadium.

Eight Algerian boxers are making the trip to London, with Abdelhafid Benchebla leading his country’s Olympic delegation. La Tribune is optimistic about the opportunity for the country to capture its first Olympic boxing gold medal since the 2000 Sydney Games but worries that the country does not invest in its sports representatives until it is too late to improve their performance. Olympic judo medalist Ammar Benyekhlef will miss the London Games because of passport problems.

Algeria’s Paralympians are also preparing for London. Earlier this week, the national goalball team participated in a Lithuanian hosted tournament featuring teams from Lithuania, Finland, Sweden, Turkey, Brazil, Belgium, the United States of America, and England. The team coach Mohamed Bettahrat talked about the tournament, saying to the French language Algerian papaer La Tribune, “A new opportunity to work with the great nations offered to us to optimize our preparation for the upcoming Paralympic Games. This is a great tournament that brings together renowned this time, the selections that will be present in London, one of our group.” tournament performance played a role in final team selection.

150 of Angola’s Paralympic hopefuls were in Luanda this week competing in the national athletics championship hoping to earn a trip to the London Paralympics. For those qualified, they will then participate in a training camp starting on July 7 in Huíla before traveling to Portugal on July 14 ahead of the Games. They then leave for London on August 4.

Past Kenyan Paralympians Joseph Kibunja and Henry Wanyoike in Hong Kong a few years ago
Image: Dennislo.

Mandatory Bristol based training has been arranged by the National Olympic Committee of Kenya for nation’s runners ahead of the Games but Kenya’s runners have implied this will disrupt their preparations. Middle-distance runner Silas Kiplagat is quoted in The Star of Nairobi in response to this mandate, “I’m not for the idea because all along, we have been training in high altitude and switching to the low altitude in Bristol is likely to be counter productive.” The Bristol idea is also opposed by Athletics Kenya, with the organization’s chairman Isaiah Kiplaga saying “The athletes have put in hard work for the last couple of months for the Olympic Games and Bristol being a low altitude area, it will hurt our medal hopes.” Kenya’s runners are expected to leave for London in two waves, with the first group leaving early next week and the second wave, which includes long distance runners, leaving closer to the start of the Games.

This past Saturday, Kenya’s Ezekiel Kemboi qualified for the London Games at the country’s national championships but his trip to the Games may be in jeopardy as two days ago, he was accused of stabbing a woman in Eldoret. According to Capital FM, Team Kenya has yet to issue a formal response to the allegations.

For two weeks, seven to nine Lesotho Olympians will prepare for the Games in north Wales, in Wrexham. Local Welshmen have been recruited to assist Lesotho competitors in their preparations for the Games, with local organizers looking for potential sparring partners if Lesotho qualifies a boxer. Two Lesotho marathon runners have already qualified. Swimmer Masempe Theko needs alternative arrangements because the Wrexham pool is only 25 meters, half the distance of the Olympic course pool. What strokes Theko will compete in at the Games is still to be determined.

At least two of Liberia’s Olympians go into the Games having competed in their sports at universities in the United States. One attended University of Texas. Another, Jangy Addy, attended the University of Tennessee and will represent the country in the decathlon after having qualified for the event.

Malawi Olympians will be headed to London with their national Olympic committee under a cloud, with the Nyasa Times alleging corruption in the contractor bidding process for facilities and other monetary handouts. The Malawi delegation only manage to qualify its athletes through the Olympic solidarity movement, which allows athletes to compete by invitation after they failed to meet qualifying standards. Fourteen year old Joyce Tafatatha and twenty-three-year old Charlton Nyirenda will represent the country in swimming. Neither swimmer has swum in a 50 meter pool before, practicing in a 25 meter unheated pool at home in Malawi. Charlton goes into the game with a goal of breaking the Malawi record of 25.46 in the 50 meter freestyle swim. Rounding out the Malawi competitors are marathoners John Kayange and Mike Tebulo, and Ambwene Simukonda who will compete in the 400 meter track event. Arriving in London earlier this week, the team is training at University of Gloucestershire’s Oxstalls campus.

According to Nigeria Olympics Committee (NOC) President Sani Ndanusa, Nigeria’s athletics competitors go into the Games with medal expectations. In the lead up to London, the country’s Olympic hopefuls participated in most of the major track competitions. The national Olympic Committee has until next week to finalize the list of track and field competitors they will send to London, but they have already made the decision to only send competitors who have made Olympic A qualifying times and scores. The Committee wants to avoid the embarassment of Olympic B qualifying competitors doing poorly at the Games in front of a large population of Nigerians who live in the United Kingdom. One of the Nigerian Olympians has been able to prepare for the world stage by competing at University of Texas as an athlete. Nigeria’s national football team does not have to worry about Olympic preparations as they failed to qualify for the Games in what is seen as a major blow to football in the country.

Rwanda T46 Paralympic competitor Theoneste Nsengimana qualified for the Paralympic Games in the 1500 meter event this past Saturday following a 4.06.05 finish at the Belfort Championship in France. In the process, he set a new national record for the distance in what was only his second international competition, with his first occurring last year at the All Africa Games held in Maputo, Mozambique. Other Rwandan competitors who will join him in London include the national sitting volleyball team, power lifter Théogène Hakizimana and runner Hermas Cliff Muvunyi.

Oscar Pistorius during 2011 World championships Athletics in Daegu
Image: Erik van Leeuwen.

South African Paralympian Oscar Pistorius‘s Olympic 400 metre qualifying time efforts have yet to meet with success. At a qualifying race in Benin two days ago, he finished second in a qualifying heat with a time of 46.32 seconds, 1.2 seconds slower than than the required time. He missed the qualifying time again in yesterday’s semi-final when he posted a time of 46.14 in another second place finish. He has one more opportunity to qualify for the Games before Sunday, when the qualification window closes. The double amputee’s efforts to make the Olympic Games has made international news following a 2011 ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport that deemed him able to compete against able bodied athletes.

South African triathlete Kate Roberts will be based in Davos until four days before the start of the Games. She will then travel to London, where she will familiarize herself with the Olympic course ahead of the start of her event. She asked The South African to ask South African fans to chant “Hou Bene Hou”, “Go Kate Go” and “Go Vrystaat!” when she is on the Olympic course.

London bound Ugandan Janet Achola, who qualified for the London Olympics earlier this week in the 1500 meter event during the seminfinals at the African Senior Athletics Championships in Benin, made the event final to be run later today. Fellow countryman Viola Chemos is also competing. She needs to set an Olympic qualifying time in the final in order to book her own trip in the 5000 meter event.

With thirty days to go, the British ambassador assisted Zimbabwe Olympians and Paralympians with the biometric requirements for their passports and visas. When they arrive in London, their entry will be expedited. Rower Micheen Thornycroft‘s was one of the first of the Zimbawe Olympic athlete delegation to have her biometric data collected. Competitors will leave for London on July 15 with swimmer Kirsty Coventry, marathon runners Wirimayi Juwawo, Cutbert Nyasango and Sharon Tavengwa, triathlete Chris Felgate and rowers Jamie Fraser-Mackenzie and Thornycroft having already qualified but some spots for London still available at the African Senior Athletics Championships in Benin happening this week.

The 2012 London Olympic Games get underway on July 27 and will run until August 13. The Paralympics get underway on August 29 and will run until 9 September.



Sources

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March 10, 2005

United Nations passes Declaration on human cloning

United Nations passes Declaration on human cloning

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Thursday, March 10, 2005

The declaration was passed at the UN general assembly

A divided UN General Assembly has voted to approve a nonbinding statement against all forms of human cloning.

The vote, held Tuesday, came after four years of debate and an end to attempts for an international ban.

In the 191-nation assembly, there were 84 votes in favor of a nonbinding statement, 34 against and 37 abstentions.

Proposed by Honduras, the statement was largely supported by Roman Catholic countries and opposed by countries with active embryonic stem cell research programs. Many Islamic nations abstained.

The UN Declaration on Human Cloning, as it is named, calls for all member states to adopt a ban on human cloning, which it says is “incompatible with human dignity and the protection of human life.”

The US, which has long pushed for a complete ban, voted in favor of the statement while traditional ally Britain, where therapeutic cloning is legal and regulated, voted against it.

The statement should have no impact on countries that allow therapeutic cloning, such as Britain and South Korea, as it is not legally binding.

“The foes of therapeutic cloning are trying to portray this as a victory for their ideology,” Bernard Siegel, a Florida attorney who lobbies to defend therapeutic cloning, said in a Reuters report. “But this confusing declaration is an effort to mask their failure last November to impose a treaty on the world banning therapeutic cloning.”

Breakdown of the vote

Of the 191 countries eligible to vote:

In favor

84 countries voted in favor of the declaration against cloning:

Afghanistan, Albania, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei Darussalam, Burundi, Chile, Comoros, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Germany, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lesotho, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Madagascar, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Federated States of Micronesia, Monaco, Morocco, Nicaragua, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Sudan, Suriname, Switzerland, Tajikistan, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, United States, Uzbekistan, Zambia.

Against

34 countries voted against the declaration:

Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, China, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People`s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Gabon, Iceland, India, Jamaica, Japan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Tonga, United Kingdom.

Abstention

37 countries abstained from voting on the declaration against cloning:

Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Barbados, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Colombia, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, Yemen, Zimbabwe.

Absent

36 countries were absent from and during the vote on the declaration against cloning:

Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Bhutan, Botswana, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Dominica, Fiji, Gambia, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nauru, Niger, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Russian Federation, Senegal, Seychelles, Swaziland, Togo, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Vietnam.

Sources


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

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