A planned U.N. address by a refugee athlete at its vote for an Olympic truce for the 2020 Tokyo Games was called off due to a scheduling conflict, a U.N. source said Saturday.
The International Olympic Committee was asking the United Nations to allow such a speaker at the General Assembly next week, and the world body was likely to agree, according to a source associated with the Olympics.
The Japanese government had backed the IOC's request.
But it became difficult to schedule the address, as more speeches are now being planned for the gathering than expected, the U.N. source said.
The planned address by a refugee athlete at the United Nations on Monday was intended to support the Olympic message of peace promoted by IOC President Thomas Bach.
(Yiech Pur Biel addresses at U.N. General Assembly in 2016)
[Photo courtesy of the United Nations]
According to the source associated with the Olympics, Yiech Pur Biel, a member of the Refugee Olympic Team at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, was the envisioned speaker.
Pur, a track and field athlete who competed in the 800-meter race at the Summer Games, fled from his home in war-torn South Sudan to the Kakuma Refugee Camp in neighboring Kenya at around age 10.
The 24-year-old athlete lives in the United States and continues training, hoping to join the Refugee Olympic Team for the Tokyo Games next year.
A refugee team was fielded for the first time at the 2016 Games, with 10 athletes from four countries participating in three competitions.