IOC President Thomas Bach welcomed the President of Guatemala, Bernardo Arévalo de León, to the Olympic House. IOC

Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), declared last Wednesday during his meeting with the President of Guatemala, Bernardo Arévalo de León, that his organisation was ready to work for the country's readmission "as soon as possible". This would allow its athletes to participate fully in Paris 2024.

The swift reinstatement of the Guatemalan Olympic Committee, which has been suspended by the IOC since August 2022, "would pave the way for its athletes to compete under the national flag and the standard protocol at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games," the highest sports authority said in a statement following the bilateral meeting. 

Bach also told Arévalo that in this case, the IOC would offer all the necessary financial support for the preparation of the Guatemalan delegation for Paris 2024. However, this support would be "conditional on the election and functioning of a Guatemalan Olympic Committee, in full compliance with the Olympic Charter". 

The bilateral meeting took place at the Olympic House, the IOC headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. Prior to the meeting, Bach presented Arévalo de León with the Pierre de Coubertin Medal, named after the founder of the modern Olympic movement and usually awarded by the organisation to heads of state and government.

The IOC President highlighted Arévalo de León's "commitment to Guatemalan athletes and to the values of sport in society" and told Bach of his desire to see the situation resolved as soon as possible so that the country's athletes can fully represent the nation. 

"Both the IOC and the government agree on the interest and the desire for Guatemalan athletes to participate with full rights in Paris," the Guatemalan President stressed at the end of his working day in Switzerland. 

"A series of steps are being taken, some of which belong to the courts and others to the parliament, to facilitate the effective participation of Guatemala in Paris," he added.

During the visit, President Bach was accompanied by IOC Vice-President Ser Miang Ng and Honorary Member in Guatemala, Willi Kaltschmitt Luján. President Arévalo was accompanied by the Guatemalan Foreign Minister, Carlos Ramiro Martínez Alvarado.

The sanction was imposed in 2022 due to the partial suspension of the statutes of the Guatemalan Olympic Committee (COG) by the Constitutional Court of the Central American country, following a lawsuit filed by a candidate for the presidency of the organization.

The suspension could make Guatemala the third country unable to compete under its flag in Paris 2024, alongside Russia and Belarus, which were sanctioned following the conflict with Ukraine. And now Angola is in the spotlight after being sanctioned by WADA.

The current suspension already forced Guatemalan athletes to compete under a neutral flag at the past Central American and Caribbean Games in San Salvador and at the Pan American Games in Santiago de Chile, both held last year.

Guatemala has participated in 14 editions of the Summer Olympic Games (since Los Angeles 1984, it has not missed any edition) and throughout its history has won only one Olympic medal, the silver medal won by Érick Barrondo in the 20-kilometer racewalk in London 2012.