Netherlands Antilles participation at London 2012 in doubt

Monday, 20 December 2010
By Tom Degun

Churandy_Martina_with_Netherlands_Antilles_flagDecember 20 - Confusion surrounds the future of the Netherlands Antilles and whether they will be allowed to compete at the London 2012 Olympics after the autonomous Caribbean country ceased to exist as a separate territory.

Work is said to be "on going" in the situation while the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) Executive Board has been informed and is working on a solution likely to be presented at their meeting in Lausanne next month.

The Netherlands Antilles was made-up originally of communities from various islands that formed a single autonomous country within the Netherlands.

But it was dissolved in October and they are now special municipalities of the Netherlands.

An IOC spokesperson told insidethegames: "The International Olympic Committee is in discussions with all parties involved in order to identify the best possible approach and solution(s) to this issue.

"It is our goal to find an outcome that complies with the Olympic Charter and preserves the interests of the athletes - in particular with regards to the 2012 London Games - as well as one that ensures the development of sport in the area."

The Netherlands Antilles Olympic Committee joined the the IOC in 1950 and made its debut in the Games at Helsinki two years later when their football team were beaten 2-1 by Turkey.

They have competed in every Games since 1960 except Moscow in 1980 when they joined the boycott over the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

Three athletes represented Netherlands Antilles at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, Churandy Martina (pictured) in athletics, Philip Elhage in shooting and Rodion Davelaar in swimming.

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) have already removed the Netherlands Antilles' membership and athletes like Martina will in future compete under the Dutch flag.

IAAF general secretary Pierre Weiss told insidethegames: "This case is very simple.

"Netherlands Antilles was never a state, it was a territory.

"None of the athletes from Antilles had an Antilles passport; they all had Dutch passports and were therefore Dutch.

"We have therefore accepted that athletes from the former Netherlands Antilles they are eligible to represent the Netherlands with immediate effect.

"What the IOC will do for the Olympic Games is their business but I know they are working hard to find a solution."

The International Sport Shooting Federation (ISSF) and the International Federation of Swimming (FINA) have not made a formal decision on the matter but have both indicated to insidethegames that are "closely following the situation" with along with the IOC.

Jan_BoersmaJan Boersma (pictured) is the only Netherlands Antillean athlete to have won an Olympic medal, a silver medal in sailing at the Seoul 1988 Games.

Martina could have actually added another silver to the collection, after he finished second in 200 metre final at the Beijing 2008 Olympics behind Usain Bolt and his world record breaking performance.

But he lost the medal after a controversial American led protest stated that he ran out of his lane during the race.

Although an appeal was made against Martina's disqualification it was rejected by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Contact the writer of this story at tom.degun@insidethegames.biz
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