Calls for Syria Olympic chief ban

The head of Syria's Olympic Committee has insisted to ITV News that he will be in London for the Games, despite calls for him to be banned. The goalkeeper for the national team has told ITV News "the majority of the athletes don’t want to take part."

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Syrian Olympic secretary: Questioning athletes is 'flawed'

Feras Moula, Syria Olympic Committee's secretary general, said that questioning the athletes from Syria who want to compete in this summer's Olympics is "flawed".

Feras Moula, Syria Olympic Committee's secretary general
Feras Moula, Syria Olympic Committee's secretary general, speaking to ITV News Credit: ITV News

He said: "Questioning the legitimacy of athletes that are due to take part in the Olympic games is flawed. Like any athletes their main aim and goal is to compete, this is what they hope for. They want to be able to take part in winning games and securing medals."

'Syrian goalkeeper injured in Homs shelling'

Footage purportedly showing Syrian goalkeeper and activist Abdel Basset Saroot injured by mortar sharpnel in Homs has been posted on YouTube.

In the video a man can be heard saying: "Homs, Al Khaldyia neighbourhood. The injury of Abdel Basset Saroot, these houses have been shelled, quick let's move from this location, quick, quick, we need to leave before another shell falls." Abdel Basset Saroot responds, saying: "I'm fine, I'm fine."

ITV News has no way of independently verifying the content of this clip.

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Syrian Olympic Chief: 'We will not be absent from London Games'

General Mowaffak Joumaa, Syrian Olympic Committee President, said his country are "determined" to take part in this summer's London 2012 Games.

Syrian Olympic Committee President General Mowaffak Joumaa
Syrian Olympic Committee President General Mowaffak Joumaa speaking to ITV News Credit: ITV News

He said: "We have never been absent from any Olympic games in the past apart from the (1932) Los Angeles games. And of course we are committed and determined to take part and we shall not be absent from the London games."

Syrian goalkeeper: Athletes are 'cut off from reality'

Abdelbasset Saroot
Abdelbasset Saroot said the athletes going to London 2012 would not know the full extent of what was happening in Homs Credit: ITV News

Syrian goalkeeper Abdelbasset Saroot said: "Our message to the International Olympic Committee is that half of the Syrian teams going to play matches or take part in the Olympic will not know much about what is happening here in Homs.

"The authorities hide the news from them …you have to view those athletes as cut off from reality … they don’t know the extent of the shelling … they don’t know that a shell could be hitting their mother, farther or a relative at any moment in Baba Amr.

"They don’t know that a fellow Syrian footballer Ahmed Al Shedan (may he rest in peace) was martyred here in Homs, he was a star. They don’t know that other athletes families have been killed and massacred."

Syrian Olympic chief will attend London 2012

There is no question about it we are taking part in a official way and with the best quality of athletes here in Syria.

And the Syrian Olympic Committee is the sole legitimate and only representative for the Syrian athletes taking part in the Olympic games in London.

The envoy will include members the Olympic Committee as well as the Head and Secretary General of the Olympic Committee along with a large number of the athletes themselves that made it into this round of Olympic games."

– General Mowaffak Joumaa, Syria Olympic Committee President

Syrian team to take part in London 2012

In terms of the Syrian Olympic team not taking part in the Games or having the right to, this is something the Syrian committee refuses.

Athletes, sports and the Olympics is outside the realm of politics. As members of the Syrian Arab Republic and as athletes our only responsibility is to represent the Syrian flag in the games in London.

Our flag is represented by the white, red and black with two green stars and this is what we will raise up to the London sky. So of course we will take part and without a doubt our flag will be raised."

– Feras Moula, Syria Olympic Committee Secretary General