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Athletes from Latin America to Participate for the First Time in the Hapoel Games in May

January 19, 1983
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Athletes from Central and South American countries will participate for the first time in the Hapoel Games this year in Israel, it was announced here by Isaac Ofek, president of the Israel Olympic Committee and chairman of the Hapoel Games organizing committee.

Ofek, addressing a group of labor leaders at a luncheon at the Sheraton Centre last Friday, said that Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Venezuela, Costa Rica, San Salvador and Guatemala have accepted invitations and will send their elite squads to the Games which will be held in stadiums throughout Israel May 1-7. He also said that African countries which have accepted invitations to the Games are Kenya, the Ivory Coast and Zaire.

Ofek surprised his audience by announcing that Egypt likewise had accepted an invitation but said he was not certain whether Egypt would follow through and send a team because of the change in the political situation in the Middle East between the time it accepted the invite and now.

In addition, Ofek said he will meet with the president of the Lebanese Olympic Committee delegation in Los Angeles this week and intends to invite him to send athletes to the May events which he termed “the Peace Games.” The president of the Lebanese Olympic Committee is Pierre Gemayel, the father of President Amin Gemayel. Representatives of Olympic Committees from around the world, including Israel, are meeting this week in Los Angeles.


The Israel Olympic Committee chairman said that a total of 1,500 athletes will perform at the various competitions. The United States is expected to send 100 star athletes, he said. He indicated that Rumania’s great gymnast, Nadja Cominici, has already accepted an invitation and will perform in the gymnastics competition.

Ofek said that Sebastian Coe, the British star runner, who earlier this month was a guest of honor at a luncheon given by the Hapoel Organizing Committee in Tel Aviv, told the gathering there that he might also participate in the Games.

The quadrennial event is under the patronage of President Yitzhak Navon. He will be the honored guest at the opening ceremonies in Jaffa on May I. Premier Menachem Begin will be the honored guest at the closing ceremony in Haifa on May 7, Ofek said.

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