OLADAPO, LANIPEKUN MOURN SAMARANCH
Former International Olympic Committee Juan Antonio Samaranch, who died on Wednesday in Barcelona, Spain, aged 89, will be remembered for the new vistas he opened in the Olympic movement for Africa and the third world.
Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria, Nigeria Olympic Commitee's Secretary-General, Mr Banji Oladapo, described Samaranch as the 'President's President,' saying he did a lot for the Olympic movement.
Oladapo said Samaranch was the brain behind the establishment of Olympic Solidarity set up to assist national Olympic committees.
He said the Spaniard was instrumental to the establishment of World Anti-Doping Agency and was very supportive of the various continental Olympic bodies such as ANOCA (Associations of National Olympic Committee of Africa).
Oladapo said the former IOC chief was also instrumental to the commercialisation of the Olympic Games and also encouraged athletes to embrace professionalism.
'He has done so much for the Olympic movement; he was the driving force behind
the Olympic Solidarity, responsible for the funding of Olympic programmes.'
Veteran television sportscaster and analyst, Fabio Lanipekun, said Samaranch opened up the IOC Board for Africans and the third world.
Lanipekun said when Samaranch succeeded Lord Kilanin as IOC Presient, he relaxed the stranglehold of the US and some European countries on the Olympic movement by giving more opportunities to Africans and other third world countries on the IOC Board.