Global athletes group calls for postponement of Olympics

On Saturday, one of America’s best-known Olympians, hurdler and bobsledder Lolo Jones, told the AP she was hoping the IOC would respond with a postponement. (File/AFP)
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Updated 22 March 2020

Global athletes group calls for postponement of Olympics

  • “As the world unites to limit the spread of Covid-19 virus, the IOC ... must do the same,” the group said

A worldwide group representing Olympic hopefuls is calling on the IOC to postpone the Tokyo Olympics until the coronavirus pandemic is under control.
“As the world unites to limit the spread of Covid-19 virus, the IOC ... must do the same,” Global Athlete said in a news release Sunday.
This show of solidarity among Olympic hopefuls adds to the dozens of individual athletes who have come out against the IOC’s current stance, which is to start the games as scheduled on July 24.
The IOC is in consultation with the World Health Organization and has stuck to the position that it’s too early for drastic decisions.
“It’s bizarre the IOC hasn’t shown any real leadership,” said Caradh O’Donovan, a Global Athlete founder from Ireland whose karate training has been put on hold due to restrictions in her country. “They’re acting as though it’s business as usual and it just seems very strange.”
O’Donovan said the unevenness around the globe regarding training, doping control and qualifying standards are among her key concerns — thoughts echoed by a number of athletes on social media and in interviews with The Associated Press over the past few days.
“Athletes want to be part of a solution to ensure the Games are a success,” the Global Athlete statement said. “But under the current global restrictions that are limiting public gatherings as well as closing training facilities and borders, athletes do not have the ability to appropriately prepare for these Games, and their health and safety must come first.”
The group also called on broadcasters, specifically NBC, and sponsors “to adopt the same level of duty of care toward athletes by supporting the IOC and (International Paralympic Committee) with flexibility and understanding during these uncharted times.”
The statement came out a few hours after US athletes took part in a conference call to share their feelings about the crisis and the possibility of a postponed Olympics. The US Olympic and Paralympic Committee is distributing a survey to athletes, with hopes of sharing some of the responses at an IOC meeting next week.
On Saturday, one of America’s best-known Olympians, hurdler and bobsledder Lolo Jones, told the AP she was hoping the IOC would respond with a postponement.
“If our job as Olympians and Olympic hopefuls is to inspire society and be healthy, we’re going in direct conflict with that by going out in public to find gyms and tracks and pools that are still open to train for the Games,” Jones said. “Some people are doing that because the IOC is telling us to stay ready, to keep training.”
It’s a thought being echoed by the Global Athlete group.
“My dream is to go to the Olympics this year but it’s an impossible task from my perspective and it’s the same for a huge number of athletes,” O’Donovan said. “I’d be absolutely stunned if they go on in July, as planned.”
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WWE names Bandar Al-Mashhadi MENA Vice President and General Manager

Updated 04 June 2020

WWE names Bandar Al-Mashhadi MENA Vice President and General Manager

  • Al-Mashhadi will lead WWE’s strategic business initiatives and day-to-day operations in the MENA region
  • He will also manage local operations for the company’s 10-year partnership with the Saudi General Entertainment Authority

RIYADH: WWE announced on Thursday the appointment of Bandar Al-Mashhadi as the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Vice President and General Manager.  

Al-Mashhadi will lead WWE’s strategic business initiatives and day-to-day operations in the MENA region and work with partners across all of WWE’s lines of business, including television, live events, marketing, sponsorship, advanced media, licensing and merchandising. He will also manage local operations for the company’s 10-year partnership with the Saudi General Entertainment Authority.

“We are excited to welcome Bandar to our international leadership team and confident that his experience in managing successful partnerships in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East will have a significant impact on WWE’s continued growth,” said James Rosenstock, WWE Executive Vice President, International. “We look forward to Bandar leading WWE’s efforts in this important region for our company.”

Al-Mashhadi has more than 20 years of experience as an executive in Saudi-based companies. He spent the past six years at OSN, most recently as Managing Director, leading implementation of the broadcaster’s corporate strategy in Saudi Arabia. During this time he also served a one-year deployment as Advisor to the Minister of Media in Saudi Arabia, leading multiple Vision 2030 initiatives including the privatization of the Saudi News Network.

Earlier in his career, Al Mashhadi spent more than a decade at BAE Systems in Saudi Arabia, rising to Director of Portfolio Management and undertaking strategic leadership placements with joint venture partners.