Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Bach for Nobel peace prize? No ‘formal discussion’, says IOC



Bach for Nobel peace prize? No ‘formal discussion’, says IOC

(At back) South Korean president Moon Jae-in (second left), IOC President Thomas Bach (centre), North Korea’s ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam (second right) and Kim Jong-un’s sister Kim Yo-jong (right) meet Unified Korea ice hockey players at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games on February 10. AFP
(At back) South Korean president Moon Jae-in (second left), IOC President Thomas Bach (centre), North Korea’s ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam (second right) and Kim Jong-un’s sister Kim Yo-jong (right) meet Unified Korea ice hockey players at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games on February 10. AFP

Bach for Nobel peace prize? No ‘formal discussion’, says IOC

Olympic officials played down a suggestion that the unified Korean ice hockey team could be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize today and said there had been “no formal discussion” about proposing IOC chief Thomas Bach for the honour.

Mark Adams, spokesman for the International Olympic Committee, said there had been “no consideration whatsoever” within the body of nominating the joint Korean team, following a suggestion by American IOC member Angela Ruggiero.

“From an IOC administrative level there’s been no consideration whatsoever of this. Obviously members are able to have their own personal views . . . but there’s been no discussion,” he said.

When asked if Bach should be proposed for the prize, after helping broker North Korea’s attendance, Adams said: “There’s no formal discussion yet at all.”

Bach is scheduled to visit North Korea after the Games, where their athletes marched together with South Korea at the opening ceremony. The two Koreas also formed their first unified Olympic team in the women’s ice hockey.

North Korea’s participation has triggered a burst of reconciliation with South Korea, including a visit by Kim Jong-un’s sister Kim Yo-jong and an invitation to Pyongyang for South Korean leader Moon Jae-in.

Ruggiero, who is head of the IOC athletes commission and a former Olympic ice hockey gold medallist, said it was a personal opinion that the Korean team should be nominated.

“I have heard a lot of support from other members just saying this is symbolic, this is what the Olympics is all about,” she said.

“It’s not about an individual or sport or country. I’m happy that it’s resonated that way and it’s starting the conversation and encouraged to have that dialogue with other members and all stakeholders for that matter.”

Despite the rapid warming of ties – which follows months of missile tests and threats of war – some South Koreans are sceptical and US Vice President Mike Pence warned the North was trying to “hijack” the Games.

In an interview on Monday, Bach dismissed fears North Korea was using the Games for political purposes, calling their participation a purely sporting matter.

“This is about sport and this the IOC made very clear,” Bach said. “This is about the role of sport to build bridges, to open doors, and nothing more.”

At the joint team’s opening match – an 8-0 thrashing by Switzerland – Bach sat with Moon to his right and the North Korean delegation to his left, and addressed the players afterwards.

“You’ve given everything, you’ve fought well and tomorrow you’ll come to understand the full importance and significance of this,” Adams quoted Bach as telling the team.

MOST VIEWED

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 20 announced the Kingdom's third outbreak of Covid-19 community transmission after 32 people tested positive in just over 10 hours. Addressing the public from his residence after an emergency meeting, Hun Sen said: "I dub it February 20 Community Event, in which 32 cases

  • Cambodia to make auto-rickshaws

    Locally-assembled electric auto-rickshaws could hit the Cambodian market as soon as early in May after the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) gave the greenlight to an investment project at the weekend. According to a CDC press release, it will issue a final registration