Subject: KY: Olympics - TV for Timor, Athletes welcomed

Also: E. Timor athletes welcomed at Olympic village

Olympics TV signal will go to East Timor SYDNEY, Sept. 12 Kyodo

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will pay for Olympic Games coverage to be beamed to East Timor, where a television audience will be able to view its athletes competing for the first time for a country independent of Indonesia.

The IOC is negotiating with Australian host television broadcaster Channel 7 and fellow rights holder the Asian Broadcasting Union (ABU) to provide the service, IOC marketing commission chairman Dick Pound told the IOC general assembly meeting in Sydney on Tuesday.

'We have entered into an agreement as of today to provide an Olympic television signal into East Timor so they will be able to watch the small team participating here in Sydney,' Pound said.

'The details are with the Seven network broadcasting here but whatever we have to do to make sure the signal gets in there, we will do it,' he added.

Pound explained that the situation with East Timor was 'a bit like the last Olympic Games in Atlanta where we paid all the satellite charges and programming for the African content.'

Four athletes from the fledgling nation will participate in the Sydney Olympic Games as individuals marching under the Olympic flag.

East Timor is still under U.N. administration after last year's bloody independence vote and has yet to form a national Olympic committee that is recognized by the IOC.

Kyodo News Service September 12, 2000, Tuesday

E. Timor athletes welcomed at Olympic village 
SYDNEY, Sept. 12 Kyodo

A long way home. So says East Timorese independence leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Jose Ramos-Horta of the struggle by the world's 'newest' nation to reach the Olympic Games.

On Tuesday, East Timor was formally welcomed at the athletes' village as participants to the upcoming Sydney Olympic Games, the second time around for the fledgling nation to make its debut -- this time, not in the political stage, but the world of sports.

Representing East Timor in the ceremony were its four athletes, including flag-bearer and the most accomplished competitor of the group, boxer Victor Ramos. The ceremony also welcomed three other countries -- Guatemala, Qatar and Samoa.

In contrast to the display of national flags and anthems for the other three countries at the ceremony, East Timor was only recognized when Ramos received an Olympic memorial item.

The new country, still under U.N. administration and without a national Olympic committee, did not have a placard to identify them at the ceremony.

The four athletes of East Timor will take part in the Sydney Games as individuals under the Olympic flag.

Jose Ramos-Horta, who stands as president of East Timor's unofficial national Olympic committee, described the ceremony as 'very touching,' as if to echo the sentiments of the nation's long efforts toward independence.

Ramos-Horta also showed optimism that by the next Olympic Games, they will compete as a 'sovereign nation with a flag and anthem.'

On the absence of a national flag, Ramos, who announced that he would carry the Olympic flag during the opening ceremony on Friday, also said that he felt honored to carry the Olympic flag, but 'regretted not having a flag to call our own.'

'I put my hopes on the people that they would recognize what I am representing,' he said.

Ramos and the three other athletes -- weightlifter Martinho DeAraugo, and marathon runners Calisto Da Costa and Aguida Amaral -- are scheduled to march and compete in white uniforms.

East Timor was a former Portuguese colony for over 400 years before it was annexed in 1975 by Indonesia in a move never recognized by the United Nations. In 1999, the territory was thrown into political upheaval and bloodshed when it voted for independence.

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