Friday, 16 August 2019

Kejval joins International Olympic Committee

8 February 2018

Pyeongchang, Feb 7 (CTK) - Czech Olympic Committee (COV) chairman Jiri Kejval was elected to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Pyeongchang on Wednesday.

"It is a big step for Czech sport, we finally again have our representative in a supreme sport body after a rather long time," Kejval said.

He said this success has been achieved also thanks to the work that current COV deputy chairman Roman Kumpost has been doing in Czech sport diplomacy abroad.

Former Czech javelin thrower Jan Zelezny was a member of the IOC Athletes' Commission in 1999-2001 and 2004-2012. Legendary gymnast Vera Caslavska was the commission's permanent member from 1995 to 2001, when she resigned for health reasons.

Jiri Stanislav Guth-Jarkovsky, a friend of Pirre de Coubertin, was one of the founding members of the IOC in which he worked for half a century (1894-1943). After the war, obstetrician Josef Gruss represented Czechoslovakia in the committee in from 1946 to 1965 when lawyer Frantisek Kroutil replaced him. In 1981-1992, the country was represented by Slovak university teacher Vladimir Cernusak.

In the 2010s, two Czech female athletes unsuccessfully ran for members of the IOC Athletes' Commission - javelin thrower Barbora Spotakova and Alpine skier Sarka Strachova.

Kejval, 50, has joined the Czech Olympic Committee in 2006 and he has been its head since 2012. In 1997-2004 he headed the Czech Rowing Association.

He was first nominated to the IOC in August 2017, but he postponed his candidacy due to an anonymous letter that linked him to a scandal with state subsidies for sport that broke out last summer. Kejval explained the situation to the IOC representatives and then he ran for the post again.

In a secret vote taken in Pyeongchang on Wednesday, Kejval won support from 73 of the 84 delegates present. He has become the 100th member of the IOC which can have up to 115 members.

Winter Olympic Games open in Pyeongchang on Friday.

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