January 13 - Morocco's Nawal El Moutawakel (pictured) will chair the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Coordination Commission for the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, it has been announced today.
El Moutawakel, the 1984 Olympic 400 metres hurdles champion, has overseen the Evaluation Commission for the 2016 Olympics, a role she earned high praise for and which cemented her place as the rising star of the Olympic Movement, with some experts predicting that she could eventually become the first-ever female President of the IOC.
The 17-strong multinational team of men and women, who will be responsible for assisting the Rio 2016 Organising Committee during the period leading up to the Olympic Games, as well as monitoring the progress of preparations, includes several other IOC heavyweights.
They include Puerto Rico's Richard Carrion, the head of the IOC Finance Commission, Ukraine's world pole vault record holder Sergey Bubka and Ireland's Patrick Hickey, the President of the European Olympic Committee, as well as Australia's Greg Hartung, the vice-president of the International Paralympic Committee.
Jacques Rogge, the President of the IOC, said: "Nawal El Moutawakel is ideally suited to lead our highly experienced and multifaceted team of experts.
"As an Olympic gold medallist and chair of the IOC Evaluation Committee for the last two Olympiads, she knows the Games inside and out, is well-acquainted with the Rio organisers and has the experience and leadership abilities to ensure that Rio is 100 per cent ready to host a fantastic Games in 2016."
The 47-year-old El Moutawakel, a member of the IOC since 1998 is a former Minister of Sport and Youth in Morocco, is the first woman to lead a Coordination Commission.
She had also been the chair of the Evaluation Commission for the 2012 Olympics, which were awarded to London.
El Moutawakel said: "I am delighted to have been named as chair of the Commission and am confident our team will help Rio deliver a memorable Summer Games in 2016.
"Having chaired the Evaluation Committee for the 2016 Games, I have first-hand knowledge of the many strengths that Rio and Brazil have to offer, and together we will strive to showcase that to the world in six years' time."
The members of the Coordination Commission comprise IOC members from five continents with wide-ranging Olympic Games experience gained either from work on former IOC Evaluation or Coordination Commissions or with previous Games Organising Committees.
The members of the Commission represent the many stakeholders of the Olympic Movement, including the athletes, the National Olympic Committees, and International Sports Federations, and act as a link between them, the Organising Committee and other Olympic Family stakeholders, thereby ensuring the coordination necessary to help deliver successful Olympic Games.
El Moutawakel will be assisted by Gilbert Felli, the IOC's Olympic Games Executive Director.
The full list of the Commission is: Beatrice Allen (Gambia), Sergey Bubka (Ukraine), Richard Carrion (Puerto Rico), John Coates (Australia), Timothy Fok (Hong Kong), Alex Gilady (Israel), Greg Hartung (Australia), Patrick Hickey (Ireland), Nicole Hoevertsz (Aruba), Nat Indrapana (Thailand), Willi Kaltschmitt (Guatemela), Gunilla Lindberg (Sweden), Julio Cesar Maglione (Uruguay), Alexander Popov (Russia), Francesco Bitti (Italy), and Ching-Kuo Wu (Chinese Taipei).
Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]
December 2009: Rogge and Samaranch both express confidence in Rio 2016
December 2009: Maracana to be given £175 million makeover before Rio 2016
December 2009: Brazil signs cooperation deal with Germany for Olympics and World Cup
December 2009: Rio hires former New York City Mayor to advise on security for Olympics
November 2009: Lula signs Olympic cooperation deal with Britain