IOC Paves Way to Readmit South Africa

From Staff and Wire Reports

The International Olympic Committee took another step Thursday toward allowing South Africa back into the Olympic Games after a suspension of more than 20 years.

The IOC will invite South Africa to compete in the 1992 Olympics on the condition that the last pillars of apartheid be removed, IOC Vice President Keba Mbaye said.

To clear the way for quick reinstatement, IOC members--in a session at Birmingham, England--gave the 11-member executive board and President Juan Antonio Samaranch the authority to readmit South Africa on their own once the condition has been met.

Two of the three main apartheid laws have already been scrapped, and the third, the Population Registration Act, is about to go before the South African parliament.

Once the law is actually abrogated, "nothing will stop the executive board" from inviting South Africa to the 1992 Summer Games at Barcelona, Mbaye said.

South Africa last competed in the Olympics in the 1960 Summer Games at Rome. It was expelled from the IOC in 1970 for its policies of racial segregation.

The IOC also agreed to reconsider changes in the modern pentathlon and three-day equestrian events for the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta. It planned to eliminate the team events in those sports because they allow athletes to win a second medal based on their performance in the individual competition.

Women's softball will be introduced as a medal sport in Atlanta and the number of women's basketball, handball and volleyball teams will be increased from eight to 12.

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