108 SPORTS – IOC PRESIDENT – VISIT amplified
International Olympic Committee
President Arrives on Three-Day
Visit to Bulgaria
Sofia, September 14 (BTA) – International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach arrived on a three-day visit to Bulgaria on Thursday evening. Bach was welcomed by Bulgarian Olympic Committee (BOC) President Stefka Kostadinova at Sofia Airport, where the two had a short discussion.
“I am happy to be in Bulgaria,” Bach said, noting that his visit comes at a time when the country is playing host to three world championships: in volleyball, rhythmic gymnastics and rowing. “This attests to Bulgaria’s high standing in sports and its prestige as an excellent host which it has earned over the years,” he remarked.
The IOC President said he wants to see firsthand what is going on in Bulgarian sports and what their future will be. He is convinced that Bulgarian sports will have more achievements and heroes like BOC President Stefka Kostadinova, a retired high-jumper whose world record has stood for 31 years.
Later in the day, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov conferred with Bach, the Government Information Service said. The PM stressed that Bulgaria pursues a serious and consistent sports development policy and is proud of its strong athletes in a number of sports. “Before 1990 all countries in the region used sports as their best promotion, but this activity experienced a debacle after that. The few sports hall that existed in Bulgaria were privatized. Now we have Arena Armeec Sofia, the Plovdiv Velodrome (Europe’s largest) and many others,” Borissov said. He praised the interest that significant international figures take in the three world championships currently taking place in this country and their appreciation for the good hosting. “I am grateful to Bulgarian athletes who lend value to the State investment and serve as a role model for the coming generations,” the head of government stressed.
“Thank you for investing in sports and in the future of young people. We are monitoring these processes. We have wonderful cooperation, which we will carry on. Europe and the world notice the progress that Bulgaria has been making in recent years. The most eloquent proof of this has been your successful European Council Presidency,” the IOC President emphasized at the meeting.
Bulgarian Youth and Sports Minister Krassen Kralev, BOC President Stefka Kostadinova, BOC Secretary General Belcho Goranov, BOC Vice Presidents Valentin Yordanov, Krassimir Ininski and Lyubomir Ganev, and National Sports Academy Rector Pencho Geshev.
Within the framework of his visit, the IOC President will visit the 36th FIG Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships in Sofia and the 2018 World Rowing Championships in Plovdiv.
Bach will deliver a lecture on “The Olympic Movement and the Role of Sports in Contemporary Society.” He will become the third IOC president to receive an honorary doctorate from the National Sports Academy after Juan Antonio Samaranch (1998) and Jacques Rogge (2009).
This is Bach’s first visit to Bulgaria in his capacity as IOC President. He is leading an IOC delegation which comprises: Michael Noel, Media Relations; Marina Baramia, Chief of Protocol; Pamela Vipond, Deputy Director for Olympic Solidarity; Greg Martin, Image Production and Management; and Kit McConnell, Sports Director. LI/VE, LG