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S. Sudan becomes newest Olympic committee member

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July 2, 2015 (JUBA) - The Republic of South Sudan has become the 206th member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) after its bid was approved by the athletic body.

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Olympic marathon runner from South Sudan. Guor Marial, August 2012 (AFP/Getty)

The IOC’s decision will now allow the world’s youngest nation compete at next year’s Olympic games due to take place in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro.

"I am delighted and exhilarated. This will promote reconciliation and national unity," South Sudan’s Olympic chief Wilson Kuoirot told Reuters Friday.

"Being a member of the IOC will allow us to send a team to next year’s Olympics. At present we have four athletes, all training in Kenya," he added.

The young nation has been in turmoil since violence broke out in December last year, killing tens of thousands of people and displacing nearly two million of them.

"Let me wish you a very bright future," said the IOC President Thomas Bach and vowed that the Olympic body would stand by South Sudan’s side.

"We look forward to welcoming you to the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games of Rio de Janeiro (in 2016). This will put your nation on the world map", he added.

In 2012, South Sudan’s marathon runner Guor Marial competed at the London games, under the Olympic flag since South Sudan not yet an approved IOC member at the time.

(ST)

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