Abdi Bile’s presence at London 2012 was a great honor for Somalia, says NOC president
|The Somali National Olympic committee president Duran Ahmed Farah said Sunday that the presence of Somalia’s 1987 1500M world champion Abdi Bile Abdi at the London 2012 Olympic Games was a great honor for the entire Somali community, although he wasn’t the flag bearer due LOCOG insisting that athlete ZamZam Mohamed Farah takes the flag.
“Somali NOC had already invited Abdi Bile to come to London to be the flag bearer, because it is a good image enhancement and publicity for all of us that the country’s once world champion is with us during the games—we are very grateful to him for accepting our invitation” the Somali NOC president Duran Ahmed Farah said in his Sunday’s press statement.
“We several times told in the media that Abdi Bile will be Somalia’s flag bearer during the opening ceremony and we were happy with that, but unfortunately something changed in the last minutes of the opening day” the press statement added.
The statement said that all participating countries were told by the LOCOG to announce their flag bearers before July 25 deadline and Somalia informed the IOC that Abdi Bile Abdi was Somalia’s flag bearer before the deadline ends.
“It was really an unfortunate experience when the IOC’s office at the Olympic village informed our head of the delegation Omar Baarajab that Abdi Bile Abdi will not be Somalia’s flag bearer and instead the female athlete will be—we tried to negotiate on the matter but they insisted that it was an IOC decision that ZamZam will be the flag bearer and finally we were obliged to accept because it is the IOC who is administering the world event” president Duran Ahmed Farah emphasized in his press statement Sunday.
“I myself went to the scene and discussed the matter with the IOC’s dignitaries but it wasn’t possible for us to succeed in our ambition—the IOC insisted that if we don’t accept what they want our flag will be carried by one of the volunteers “the president said adding that like any other participating country Somalia accepted the list of flag bearers issued by the LOCOG.
The Somali NOC presidential statement noted that veteran Abdi Bile, the once 1500M world champion was happy with how something went place and he was lonely next to the female flag bearer as the experienced leader of the Somali group.
By Shafi’i Mohyaddin Abokar