Olympics: French athletes won't heed boycott call, official says

8th April 2008, Comments 0 comments

French athletes would take part in the Beijing Games even if President Nicolas Sarkozy went ahead with a possible opening ceremony boycott.

   BEIJING, April 8, 2008 - France's top Olympic official said here Monday that French athletes would take part in the Beijing Games even if President Nicolas Sarkozy went ahead with a possible opening ceremony boycott.
   Sarkozy is considering staying away from the launch of the Beijing Olympics
to protest China's crackdown on unrest in Tibet, according to French officials.
   Henri Serrandour, chief of France's National Olympic Committee, said France
would compete at the August 8-24 Games regardless of what Sarkozy does.
   "Even if the president of France asked athletes to boycott the Games, we
would still go, even if only 10 (French) athletes eventually went there,"
Serandour said at a meeting of the Association of National Olympic Committees
here.
   The body, which groups 205 National Olympic Committees from around the
world, is holding its three-day general assembly in Beijing less than four
months before the city stages the Summer Games.
   Last week French human rights minister Rama Yade was quoted in an interview
as saying Sarkozy would stay away from the opening ceremony unless China met
several conditions concerning Tibet and human rights.
   She later said she had been misquoted by Le Monde newspaper on use of the
word "condition."
   French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner on Monday reiterated that no
conditions had been set for Sarkozy's attendance but repeated that all options
were still on the table related to the Games.
   Beijing has faced international criticism over its crackdown on
anti-Chinese protests in Tibet, which exiled Tibetan leaders say killed up to
150 people. China says Tibetan rioters have killed 18 civilians and two
policemen.

AFP 

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