Gay Competitors Should Not Be Afraid at Sochi 2014 says Wu

August 13, 2013

By Claire Nash & Keir Radnedge

Gay competitors should not be afraid of competing at next year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, insists IOC presidential candidate Dr Ching-kuo Wu.

Controversy has assailed next February’s Winter Games since Russia adopted a law making it illegal to give under-18s information about homosexuality.

In London the Taiwanese president of the International Boxing Association reassured competitors that the IOC would remain steadfast in protecting their interests in line with its Olympic Charter which promotes ‘practising sport without discrimination of any kind.’

He also confirmed that the IOC has sought clarification from Russia over its new anti-gay law and would not be drawn on whether the IOC would consider withdrawing the Games.

Wu warned, however, that it was up to the Russian authorities to resolve a row which has provoked a worldwide outcry including condemnation from US president Barack Obama as well as protests, petitions and boycott threats.

Wu said: “The Russian authorities know how serious the IOC is. We are not joking. They really have to find a solution. The IOC president’s primary and most important duty is to defend and protect the Olympic Charter.

“We have to make Russia understand the Olympic Charter. Sport is a human right. This is applied to all, it doesn’t matter your nationality, race or sexual orientation. Everybody has the right to compete in sport.

“This is the message we should continue emphasising. There are certain points that need to be clarified by the Russian authorities. We are still waiting for the Russian authorities to reply on these points.

“Russia says it is not anti-gay but it says it is against the ‘propaganda’ that may influence young children.

“We have to find the best solution. We are waiting, we cannot answer on their behalf. But our message is clear, we are serious. Through this next three or four months I believe a solution will be achieved and agreed.

“I would have sought to prevent this. During the bidding process, you have to respect the rules. This is a basic qualification.”

Wu, in London on his way from the World Athletics Championships in Moscow to the Asian Youth Games in Nanjing, is a contender to succeed retirement-bound Jacques Rogge as president of the IOC.

The IOC must decide, on September 10 in Buenos Aires, between Wu and five rivals – Thomas Bach (Germany), Sergei Bubka (Ukraine), Richard Carrion (Puerto Rico), Ser Miang Ng (Singapore) and Denis Oswald (Switzerland).

Keir Radnedge has been covering football worldwide for more than 40 years, writing 33 books, from tournament guides to comprehensive encyclopedias, aimed at all ages.

His journalism career included The Daily Mail for 20 years as well as The Guardian and other national newspapers and magazines in the UK and around the world. He is a former editor, and remains a lead columnist, with World Soccer, generally recognised as the premier English language magazine on global football.

In addition to his writing, Keir has been a regular analyst for BBC radio and television, Sky Sports, Sky News, Aljazeera and CNN.

Keir Radnedge’s Twitter@KeirRadnedge

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