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Gymnastics Meet Might Be First Back for South Africa

TIMES STAFF WRITER

If South Africa regains admission into the International Olympic Committee this summer, the first appearance in the United States by one if its teams could come in the world gymnastics championships in September at Indianapolis.

South Africa has provisionally entered the meet, according to Mike Jacki, president of the organizing committee and executive director of the U.S. Gymnastics Federation.

“We’ll take our lead from the IOC,” he said Friday.

South Africa’s interim Olympic Committee received conditional recognition from the IOC earlier this week. If the country meets five conditions, including abolition of the official government policy of apartheid and the integration of its sports federations, the IOC’s 21-year ban against South Africa could be lifted by July.

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IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch said Wednesday he hopes South Africa can return to international competition at the track and field world championships Aug. 24-Sept. 1 in Tokyo. The gymnastics championships are scheduled Sept. 6-15.

South Africa has retained its membership in the International Gymnastics Federation but has not participated in international competitions outside the country for more than three decades.

“They have some talented gymnasts,” Jacki said. “I’m not saying they are potential medalists, but I think they would surprise some people.”

Jacki said the South African Gymnastics Federation has been integrated for several years.


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