Subject: KY: Ramos-Horta elected president of Timor Olympic Committee

Ramos-Horta elected president of East Timor NOC

05/09/2000 Japan Economic Newswire Copyright Kyodo News International Inc. 2000

SYDNEY, May 9 --

East Timor has gone a step closer to participating in its first Olympic Games after the formation of a National Olympic Committee (NOC) headed by Nobel peace prize winner Jose Ramos-Horta.

The East Timor resistance leader said Tuesday from the capital Dili that he was unanimously elected president of the East Timor NOC at a meeting last week.

"Nothing would be more fitting than East Timor 's participation" in the Sydney Olympic opening and closing ceremonies, he told Kyodo News.

"It would be a message of peace, a message of tolerance. It would do good to the image of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) itself, good for Australia and the presence of East Timor ," he said.

Ramos-Horta said he appreciated the support of Australian IOC delegate Kevan Gosper to have East Timor participate in the opening and closing ceremonies of the Sydney Games, which run from Sept. 15 to Oct. 1.

He said East Timor will satisfy IOC stipulations that a participating Olympic nation has five Olympic sporting federations and athletes training for the Games and participate in sporting events if possible.

"We have a confederation of all the sports you can think of. We have a number of athletes -- we have a male boxer and a woman who competed in Atlanta for Australia in gymnastics," he said.

Ramos-Horta said he would meet IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch if invited to expedite East Timor 's bid as a fully accredited Olympic nation.

Ramos-Horta was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1996 for his efforts to bring about last year's independence vote with fellow East Timorese independence leader Xanana Gusmao.

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