South Sudan could become the 206th member of the International Olympic Committee at its session in Kuala Lumpur in July, meaning athletes from the world’s newest nation would be able to compete under their own national flag at Rio 2016.
Speaking during a historic visit to Kosovo, the IOC Director of NOC Relations Pere Miró told insidethegames that steps are underway to bring the northeastern African country into the fold.
Unlike with Kosovo, whose challenge involved the fact that it is not a member of the United Nations, despite being recognised by 110 of the 193 members, South Sudan’s stumbling block involves its failure to have five internationally-approved National Federations, a criteria for membership under the Olympic Charter.
South Sudan, the world’s newest nation which split from Sudan in 2011, was made a provisional member of the International Association of Athletics Federations last November, while associate membership was granted by the International Handball Federation in 2013.
Miró, the Spaniard leading negotiations, revealed work is underway to fast-track the creation of other such bodies, and that he is hopeful this could be completed in the coming weeks.
If South Sudan is to be accepted by the IOC membership-at-large in the Malaysian capital at its Session on July 31, it would have to be provisionally accepted by the ruling Executive Board at its next meeting in Lausanne in early June.