Monday October 16, 2017

Athlete Guor Marial suspended by South Sudan Athletic Federation from participating in Olympics

South Sudan's long distant runner, Guor Marial (Photo: AFP)

JUBA – South Sudan’s Olympic body, The South Sudan Athletic Federation (SSAF) has suspended Guor Miading Miaker (Guor Marial), revoked his membership and denied him opportunity to represent South Sudan at Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
Marial was famously known worldwide for competing under the Olympic Flag at the 2012 Olympics, rather than the South Sudanese flag. He also refused to represent Sudan who at the time his only choice, saying it betrays the causes South Sudanese fought for.
In 2012 before the olympic kickstarted, the National Olympic Committee of Sudan offered to allow Marial to compete as a member of the Sudanese team. Marial rejected the offer, saying:

“If I ran for Sudan, I would be betraying my people. I would be dishonoring the two million people who died for our freedom.”

Marial then after a quick decision by the IOC-executive board competed in the men’s marathon at the 2012 Summer Olympics as one of four athletes competing in the 2012 Summer Olympics under the Olympic flag rather than that of an individual country. He finished 47th in the marathon, with a time of 2:19:32.
Two weeks ago, Marial was awarded a scholarship by the IOC to help him prepare for the Rio Olympics. South Sudan’s Athletic Federation demanded that Guor handover the scholarship  to them since the federation has a policy of putting athletes together for trainings and to compete under one umbrella and administration rather than operating in separate entities. Guor says because the scholarship was awarded solely to him and not to federation nor other athletes, he should be the only one benefiting from the package. To him, he only needs flag and the federation’s backing to compete.
The federation then took action, banning and suspending Guor from doing any athletic activities representing South Sudan. He was also advised “NOT TO DREAM” about going to Rio de Janeiro as a South Sudanese athlete.
Marial swiftly reacted and accused the federation of denying him his right as an athlete and a citizen. He said that he will escalate the case to the IOC.

 

 On his official Facebook account, Guor wrote this statement to his followers:

 

Marial has A-qualification certificate for Marathon running. He’s well qualified to participate in any long distance running event.

 

THE UPPER NILE TIMES

Times Wire Staff
Filed in

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