The International Olympic Committee (IOC) was yesterday urged to help release Bahraini bodybuilding champion Sami Al Haddad, who is being detained in Qatar.
Bahrain Olympic Committee (BOC) called on the Lausanne-based organisation and the international sports community to take a firm stance in support of Haddad, who was unjustly arrested on January 8 as he was on a fishing trip inside Bahrain’s territorial waters.
In a letter addressed to IOC president Thomas Bach, it described the Qatari act as a flagrant violation of international conventions, laws and norms.
“Based on the IOC’s role in protecting athletes, defending their rights and just causes, and in implementation of the Olympic Charter calling for the separation of sport from politics, we call on the international sports community and the International Olympic Committee to take a supportive stance for the release of athlete Sami Ibrahim Al Haddad to return to his family,” BOC said in the letter.
It reiterated firm belief in the role of sport as a message of love and peace between peoples to achieve the noble Olympic values of friendship, respect and tolerance among different countries of the world.
The committee urged Qatari authorities to release Al Haddad, as well as his friends, immediately, being an iconic sportsman who has excelled for Bahrain in international arenas and won bodybuilding championships.
“Despite the diplomatic efforts of the Foreign Ministry to secure the release of Sami Ibrahim Al Haddad, the Qatari authorities are still detaining Al Haddad until this moment,” it said, calling for his immediate release so that he can return to his family and his country.
Al Haddad was the first athlete in Bahrain to receive from His Majesty King Hamad a passport with ‘professional athlete’ as an official profession.
Al Haddad won a gold medal in the IFBB Mozolani Pro Classic in 2016 and another in IFBB Pro Spain in 2018. He also has other Arab, continental and international achievements.