Olympic Games: Samaranch reopens Bosnian arena

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JUAN ANTONIO SAMARANCH, the International Olympic Committee president, yesterday reopened the rebuilt Zetra Olympic Hall in Sarajevo, which was destroyed during the Bosnian war.

"Today, we celebrate the culmination of our collaborative efforts to rebuild this Olympic Hall, which we hope will contribute to the process of reconstruction of Bosnia and reconciliation between its people," Samaranch said during the ceremony which less than a hundred people attended.

"Today, at this place, where until a few months ago there was nothing but senseless ruins, we are gathered to receive the gifts of Olympic friendship and solidarity," Bogic Bogicevic, the president of the Bosnian Olympic Committee, said. "Here we witness the victory of good over evil," he added.

The Zetra Hall was first opened at the end of 1982 as one of the most important structures for the 1984 Winter Olympic Games.

Until it was bombed in May 1992, it had been the site of many national and international competitions and championships. To Sarajevans it was the symbol of the most memorable days of their city.

When shells destroyed the arena, city officials informed Samaranch and the IOC president quickly replied with a message of support, initiating a project for the reconstruction of the hall.