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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 May, 2004, 15:23 GMT 16:23 UK
Greek bids for Palestinian team
Greek javelin thrower Sofia Sakorafa in 1982
Sakorafa was the women's javelin world record holder in 1982-1983
Greek javelin thrower Sofia Sakorafa has asked to compete for the Palestinians at the Athens Olympics.

Ms Sakorafa, 47, who broke the world women's record in 1982, claims she has become a Palestinian citizen and hopes to compete for their team in August.

"She was always an activist in the peace movement and her participation will be symbolic," an aide said.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is expected to rule on Ms Sakorafa's request on 18 May.

She would reportedly need an IOC waiver to bypass qualifying standards.

"We accepted her with emotion," said a Palestinian Authority official in Athens.

'The universal spirit'

"Because I... got a Greek education, which... teaches that man is the measure of all things... I feel the need and the obligation to serve the universal spirit that is still being produced today from this ancient Greek spirit," Ms Sakorafa said.

Ms Sakorafa was the women's javelin world record holder in 1982-1983 and won a bronze medal in the 1982 European championships.

According to the Associated Press, she has not competed for Greece since the early 1990s - so she would qualify for a switch of nationalities under IOC rules.

It requires at least a three-year pause in international competition, the agency said.

Sakorafa obtained honorary citizenship and a Palestinian Authority travel document earlier in the year, the AFP news agency reports.




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