A ban on Kuwait has been lifted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in time for them to compete under their own flag at the Asian Games, due to open here in the Indonesian capital on Saturday (August 18).
The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) announced today the suspension had been lifted following a meeting today of the IOC's ruling Executive Board.
The Kuwait Olympic Committee (KOC) was suspended on October 27 in 2015 due to Government interference and conflicts in the sports law.
A similar ban was lifted just before London 2012 for the same reason, allowing Kuwait to compete under the national flag.
Due to the ban, however, athletes from the country were forced to participate neutrally and under the IOC flag at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, where shooter Fehaid Al-Deehani won a gold medal as an Independent Olympic Athlete in the double trap.
The Kuwaiti delegation at these Games, being co-hosted by Jakarta and Palembang and due to last until September 2, will be led by the President of KOC, Sheikh Talal Fahd Al Sabah, and total 40 athletes and officials.
The decision to let Kuwait compete under its own flag will be welcomed by Sheikh Ahmad Al
Football's world governing body FIFA had lifted its own ban on Kuwait last December so the country could take part in the Gulf Cup of Nations.
The Kuwait Government have worked hard in the last 18 months to amend its controversial sports law so it is line with the Olympic Charter.
The decision by the IOC to lift Kuwait's ban follows discussions at last month's Executive Board meeting in Lausanne where they claimed "progress" was being made.
"In the interest of Kuwaiti athletes and as a gesture of goodwill to recognise the progress accomplished, the IOC Executive Board has decided to provisionally lift the suspension of the KOC with immediate effect," the IOC said in a statement today.
Kuwait will now be expected to follow a roadmap for fresh elections of all sports organisations in Kuwait and the Government has to promise not to obstruct the work of the KOC while it is fulfilling its basic responsibilities and duties under the Olympic Charter.
The Government will also be expected to actively support amendments to the sports law and to cooperate with the IOC to ensure it continues to be drafted so it is in line with the Olympic Charter.
Kuwait made its Asian Games debut at Tehran in 1974, where they won one silver medal.
Since then they have won a total of 85 medals, made up of 23 gold, 29 silver and 33 bronze.
At the last Asian Games in Incheon four years ago Kuwait won 12 medals - three gold, five silver and four bronze.
Two of the gold medals came in shooting, Abdullah Al-Rashidi in the men's skeet and Abdullah Al-Muzayen in the men's singles.
The other gold came in karate where Rashed Al-Mutairi won the men's kumite over-84 kilograms.