Vila Times’s exclusive. In the run-up to the Pacific Games, VASANOC President asks Vanuatu Government not to interfere in the selection of athletes for Pacific Games, after Vanuatu Sports Minister requested to include previously banned local sprinter Dickey Mael in Team Vanuatu.
In a letter dated 20th October, Minister of Youth and Sports had urged the Vanuatu Association of Sports And National Olympic Committee (VASANOC) to lift the ban on the local sprinter, Dickey Mael.
Mael, who impressed during the National Championships in the 100M and 200M, was left out of the training squad for Van2017 due to the ban he received in 2014 at the Nanjing Youth Olympic Games, after Mael refused to race on Saturday, himself a Seventh Day Adventist.
Upon his return, Mael was banned from representing Vanuatu.
Minister of Sports Seule Simeon had urged VASANOC to reconsider the ban since it was in regard to the athlete’s faith.
“It is only understandable that VASANOC should re-consider its disciplinary decision on Mr Dickey Mael, a young athlete who has been suspended in regard to his faith,” the letter read.
“The Vanuatu Government through the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development is very concerned on how your organization is handling the welfare and faith of this young athlete without first consulting Athletics Vanuatu.
“As you know the Government has made a lot of financial commitment towards the organization of this year’s Pacific Mini Games, and for this reason, I expect VASANOC to play its role and be more responsible to ensure that the best sportsmen meet their selection requirements to be selected in Team Vanuatu.
“Lastly, I remind you and your board that the existence of this Ministry is to ensure that any decision taken against our sports men and women are of the best interest of sports in Vanuatu, and will not tarnish any good image for this country as one of the leading Sporting Pacific Nations the world should watch during the 2017 Pacific Mini Games.”
In his reply of defense, VASANOC President, Antoine Boudier, said they had to consult the International Olympic Committee first before giving the ban, and warned the Government from interference in athletes selection.
“We wish to recall the principles and rules of VASANOC Constitution and the Olympic Charter that govern this matter, as follows:
“Article 2 on the Mission of VASANOC, reads: “The Mission of VASANOC is to develop, promote and protect the Olympic Movement in Vanuatu, in accordance with the Olympic Charter. In order to fulfill this mission, VASANOC may cooperate with governmental bodies and non-governmental organizations. However, VASANOC must never associate itself with any activity that would be in contradiction with the Olympic Charter”.
“Rule 27.5 of the Olympic Charter reads: “In order to fulfill their mission, the NOCs may cooperate with governmental bodies, with which they shall achieve harmonious relations. However, they shall not associate themselves with any activity which would be in contradiction with the Olympic Charter.”
“Article 5.1 of the VASANOC Constitution on the Rights and Duties of VASANOC: “The exclusive powers for the representation of Vanuatu at the Olympic Games, and the regional, continental or world multi-sport competitions patronised by the IOC. These include: The Commonwealth Games, The Pacific Games, The Pacific Mini Games and The Melanesian Games.”
“Rule 27.3 of the Olympic Charter: “The NOCs have the exclusive authority for the representation of their respective countries at the Olympic Games and at the regional, continental or world multi-sports competitions patronised by the IOC.”
“The Athlete was a participant in the 2014 Youth Olympic Games. These Games were patronized by the IOC, and like every athlete in these Games, he also signed an Entry/Eligibility Conditions Form. Amongst other things, the Athlete signed a “declaration that I have read and that I have full knowledge of the provisions of the Olympic Charter currently in force and I agree to comply with all such provisions…”.
Banned athlete Dickey Mael
“As to the “faith” of this Athlete, VASANOC’s original letter of suspension was because of his refusal to participate in a competition of the Youth Olympic Games without any medical reason. VASANOC has met the President of Vanuatu SDA Mission before our decision to uphold his suspension. We have also discussed this with Oceania Athletics Association who have raised concerns over non-participation of Ni-Vanuatu Athletes in their competitions because they considered their “faith” more important than competing for Vanuatu. We intend to take this matter up with the International Association of Athletics Federations.
“Honorable Minister, VASANOC would like to point out strongly that anyone who has been in Team Vanuatu in the past or will be in Team Vanuatu now and in future, wears the colors of Vanuatu, sings the National Anthem of Vanuatu, flies the Flag of Vanuatu and competes in the Name of Vanuatu. One’s family, island, province, church, club, NF, and even VASANOC, come second to anyone who represents Vanuatu in a Team Vanuatu.
“We therefore advice you to withdraw your letter and allow VASANOC to fulfill its duties as the National Olympic Committee and Pacific Games Association of Vanuatu,” Antoine Boudier said in his letter.