IOC Athletes' Commission election takes new twist as emerges Japanese Olympic Committee warned
Sunday, 26 August 2012
August 26 - The controversial election for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Athletes' Commission took another twist today when it emerged that the Japense Olympic Committee (JOC) had been warned during the campaign for distributing illegal literature.
They were told off by the IOC for distributing a handbook that urged its athletes competing at London 2012 to vote for hammer thrower Koji Murofushi (pictured) during the election which took place during the Games earlier this month.
Murofushi, the 2004 Olympic champion who won a bronze medal at London, polled enough votes to secure one of the four places on the IOC but was disqualified by the IOC for allegedly breaching strict rules governing campaigning during the election.
Murofushi has been accused of breaking the rules that prohibit giving gifts, putting up posters and campaigning in the athletes dining hall.
The JOC, which is currently appealing the IOC's decision to disqualify Murofushi, had included a phrase in a Japanese language handbook that urged athletes to vote for him.
According to IOC rules, materials with language not authorised by the IOC cannot be distributed.
"For the benefit of Japanese athletes who don't understand English, we prepared a Japanese version before we received the official [IOC] publication," a JOC official told Kyodo News, a Japanese agency.
"At the time we saw our published version, that's when we got the first warning."
If Murofushi had got onto the IOC it was seen as a big boost for Tokyo's bid to host the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.
After the warning, JOC collected hundreds of handbooks from its athletes and gave them to the IOC.
The elections are mired in controversy because, besides Murofushi, the IOC also disqualified another one of the successful candidates, Chinese Taipei's Mu-Yen Chu.
It is alleged that the 2004 Olympic -58 kilogram taekwondo champion broke the rules by distributing free lollipops to potential voters and also that he used his iPad to promote his candidature.
Chinese Tapei officials deny both allegations and have written to IOC President Jacques Rogge urging him to intervene.
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