BUENOS AIRES, Argentina, Oct 9 – Samira Asghari, a 24-year-old Afghan woman, was among nine new International Olympic Committee members elected Tuesday, but there was still no place for either IAAF president Sebastian Coe or FIFA head Gianni Infantino.
“She’s a lady who is doing a fantastic job to promote women’s sports in Afghanistan,” IOC president Thomas Bach said of Asghari, who made her name as captain of the Afghan women’s basketball team before holding several roles in sports administration.
“You know very well that this is not very easy for many reasons in this country.”
Asghari added: “I am working for the future of all athletes around the world, especially those in need, like in Afghanistan.”
The situation for sports and women in Afghanistan, she said, was “better than before” thanks to the work of the Afghan Olympic committee and the sports minister.
“I had the desire to work for the athletes,” Asghari said. “I’ve been working for the (Afghan) NOC and minister, and I was also a player on the national basketball team.
“It’s very nice that the athletes see that somebody young like them is trying to help them.”
Bach acknowledged that it would be tough to work for the Olympic movement in Afghanistan.
“But this is a good move, a first move, even if we can bring the spirit of sport this is a great achievement for Afghanistan and the IOC.”
The two other women elected at the 133rd IOC meeting in the Argentinian capital were Daina Gudzineviciute, president of the Lithuanian Olympic committee, and Felicite Rwemarika, first vice-president of the Rwandan Olympic committee.
Among other new members are Prince Jygyel Ugyen Wangchuck, president of the Bhutanese Olympic committee, Japan’s Morinari Watanabe, head of the International Gymnastics federation, and Brazilian Andrew Parsons, president of the International Paralympic Committee.
Giovanni Malago, Camilo Perez Lopez Moreira and William Frederick Blick, respective presidents of the Italian, Paraguayan and Ugandan Olympic committees, were also elected.
While predecessors Sepp Blatter and Lamine Diack were long-time IOC members, before both were caught up in corruption scandals, British track and field administrator Coe and world football chief Infantino again miss out.