Fri, 15 Sep 2000

Samaranch denies statement on Hasan

JAKARTA (JP): President of the International Olympics Committee (IOC) Juan Antonio Samaranch told a press conference in Sydney on Thursday that he never issued a statement, which became headlines in Australian newspapers, asking the Indonesian government to release Mohammad "Bob" Hasan to enable him to attend the Olympic Games opening ceremony on Friday.

"I think there were no words in my letter to the President of Indonesia urging the government to release Mr. Bob Hasan. I just said that the IOC has a good relationships with sports in Indonesia," the former Spanish diplomat was quoted by Antara as saying.

"Mr. Bob is the former president of the Asian Amateur Athletics Association (AAAA) and chairman of the Indonesian Amateur Athletics Association (PASI). What we know is that he may not be guilty," he said.

Samaranch's letter to President Abdurrahman Wahid was sent on April 26 and copies were distributed at the Media Press Center at the Olympic Park in Homebush Bay, Sydney, two days ago.

The letter then became a headline on The Australian daily which was followed by other newspapers and news agencies.

In the three-paragraph letter, Samaranch wrote: "Mr President. I have been following closely the progress of Indonesian citizens under your leadership. I hope you can bring the country into success and wealth, peace and understanding."

"IOC enjoys a good relationship with Indonesian sports organizations. As you have known, Mr Bob Hasan is a member of the IOC representing Indonesia and has served for international and continental organizations specially in athletics. We hope Indonesia sends its strongest team to the 27th Olympic Games in Sydney in September."

"Your support for sports development and Olympics movement in Indonesia and also the volunteers involved in sports activities are highly appreciated." (yan)