NEWS BRIEFS

First Slovak government delegation visits the IOC in Lausanne

The first ever visit of representatives of the Slovak government to the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne occured on February 16. Deputy Prime Minister Ľubomir Fogaš and Education Minister Milan Ftáčnik (both responsible for the sports sphere) met for lunch with IOC Chairman Juan Antonio Samaranch.

The Slovak delegation was seeking support for Slovakia's candidacy for the Winter Olympic Games in 2006. With only four months left until the June 19th IOC meeting in Seoul, there are no lobbying opportunities to miss, and judging from Samaranch's comments after the meal, the visit was a success.

"Slovakia's Olympic Committee is doing some active sports diplomacy," Samaranch said. "Slovakia has just staged a great winter Universiade and is about to launch the youth games. Your Education Minister suggested that Poprad may be getting the short end of the stick, but I think the candidacy system we are going to pass at the IOC's March meeting will be fair for all candidates."

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