IOC President visits Ethiopia

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Addis Ababa, 3 June 2014 (WIC) - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) President, Thomas Bach, visited Ethiopia on Monday (June 2), meeting President Dr Mulatu Teshome and discussing enhanced collaboration between the Ethiopian government and the Olympic Movement.

President Dr Mulatu outlined the positive contribution Olympic sports had made in building the successful development of the nation in recent years; and he emphasized the "importance of offering aid and support to the National Olympic Committee (NOC) when needed."

Bach said the values of sport “can be invaluable to a country in helping to bring people together and to forge social cohesion,” adding “it is good to see Olympic Solidarity and Olympafrica helping to deliver this in Ethiopia."

The IOC President also underlined the importance of autonomy to allow sport to flourish. At a lunch hosted by the NOC, the IOC President met Foreign Minister Dr. Tedros Adhanom and many of the country's Olympic athletes, including two-time Olympic marathon champion, Haile Gebrsalassie.

Foreign Minister Dr. Tedros praised the power of the Olympics to "reinforce the image of a country and unite the people behind a common goal."

President Bach also visited the NOC headquarters and the Ethiopian Youth Sports Academy where he met young athletes. The IOC President was accompanied by Dagmawit Girmay, IOC member in Ethiopia, and the President of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA), Lassana Palenfo. Representatives of the Ethiopian NOC also joined the delegation.

Ethiopia was the last stop on President Bach's three-nation African tour that also included visits to Botswana for the 2nd African Youth Games and Kenya.