14 - 20 September 2000
Issue No. 499
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875|
Egypt Region Interview International Economy Opinion Culture Travel Living Sports Profile People Time Out Chronicles Cartoons Letters
A Gulf firstTWO Bahraini women have been chosen to compete at the Sydney Olympics, the Bahrain Olympic Committee has said, the first time a Gulf Arab state is believed to have sent women athletes to the Games.
A statement said runner Mariam Hadi Al-Hilli would compete in the 100 metres while Fatema Hameed Karashi would take part in the 50-metre freestyle swimming.
The two women will be part of a four-member team.
Rail woesOLYMPICS Minister Michael Knight has warned that Sydney's rail system will struggle to cope during the Games.
"There's obviously a worry about the train system. No matter how well the transport system works -- even if there are no derailments, no hold-ups, and every train runs on time -- it will still be a very difficult experience," Knight was quoted as saying in the Australian press.
New South Wales Premier Bob Carr added: "I can't guarantee that there won't be incidents. Half-a-million people getting on trains and buses...there will be crowds."
A rail spokesman said drivers would be told to put safety ahead of punctuality during the event.
Around 1,000 commuters were evacuated in an early-morning bomb scare in Sydney last week. In 1996, Atlanta was criticised following public transport problems during the Games.
More than goldFOR many Asian athletes, winning gold at the Sydney Olympics will also mean a small fortune.
Taiwan, yet to win an Olympic gold, will pay T$10 million ($333,000) to any of their 65 athletes who get gold, and the same amount to the winner's coach.
There will also be a payoff of T$6 million ($200,000) for a silver, T$4 million ($133,000) for a bronze and smaller prizes all the way down to a 10th placing in the Games.
After earning a silver in table tennis four years ago in Atlanta, Taiwan's Olympic officials hope to make a bigger payout in Sydney thanks to strong prospects in the debut sports taekwondo and women's weightlifting. "It is generally believed we are strong in weightlifting and taekwondo. Prospects are quite good," Huang Ta-chou, president of the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee, said in Taipei recently.
China is aiming for 16 golds in Sydney, the same number it won in Atlanta, and has offered 80,000 yuan ($9,675) to each gold medal winner, 50,000 yuan ($6,000) for silver and 30,000 ($3,600) for a bronze.
Eastern incentivesTHREE former Soviet Baltic republics are offering cash bonuses to athletes who win medals in Sydney.
Latvia will pay $165,000, $50,000 and $30,000 for gold, silver and bronze. Lithuania will pay $400,000, $200,000 and $150,000.
Estonia's Olympic committee will pay $65,000, $45,000 and $30,000 to its medal winners.
Kissinger's paybackFORMER US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who last year told Olympic leaders they had to change their ways to avoid a crisis of public confidence, is set to become an International Olympic Committee member next week, Olympic sources said.
Kissinger was part of the commission responsible for changing the IOC after the biggest corruption scandal in its history, and he will be one of a handful of world figures expected to be chosen as "honourary members" of the organisation.