Olympic Games: Stadium rises from Sarajevo ashes

Wednesday 26 May 1999 23:02
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JUAN ANTONIO SAMARANCH will officially reopen Sarajevo's Zetra Olympic complex tomorrow after it was destroyed by Serb shelling early in the 1992-1995 Bosnian war.

The International Olympic Committee president had originally been due to hand the keys of the rebuilt sports centre in central Sarajevo to city officials at a ceremony on 30 March.

But that event was cancelled due to Nato's bombing campaign in neighbouring Yugoslavia, which temporarily halted all civilian flights to and from Bosnia.

Zetra was the venue of the ice hockey and figure skating events and the closing ceremony at Sarajevo's 1984 Winter Olympics. It burned down early in the Serb siege of the city.

The 1984 Olympic champion Katarina Witt had been due to perform at the ceremony in March but she will now come to Sarajevo later this year, along with other top skaters.

The reconstruction of Zetra, financed mainly by the IOC, has cost 32 million Bosnian marka (pounds 10.6m), said Bogic Bogicevic, the head of Bosnia's Olympic Committee. He said that the reopening of Zetra could help to pave the way for repairing other Olympic facilities in the Bosnian capital. The total damage to these venues during the war has been estimated at pounds 62.5m.

Zetra has already been opened for the public and a local skating competition was held there last weekend.

During his stay in Sarajevo, Samaranch will also meet the three members of Bosnia's inter-ethnic presidency.

Sarajevo authorities have announced plans to bid to host the 2010 Olympic Games.

The South Korean resort village of Muju will officially open a campaign to host the 2010 Winter Olympic Games by launching a bid committee today. It will be led by Kim Un-yong, the chairman of the Korean Olympic Committeeand an executive member of the IOC.

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