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IOC grants full membership to Flying Disc Federation, South Sudan

The World Flying Disc Federation (WFDF) has been granted full recognition by the International Olympic Committee, while South Sudan was approved as the 206th full IOC member as the organisation’s 128th Session drew to a close today (Monday).

Flying disc, more commonly known as frisbee, is now officially recognised as an Olympic sport, potentially paving the way for it to join the Olympic Games programme in the future. The WFDF was given the green light by the IOC after meeting all the criteria to become an Olympic sport, including having 62 national federations and gender equality.

WFDF had received provisional recognition from the IOC in May 2013 and its president, Robert Rauch, said: “This is an incredible milestone in the 30 year history of WFDF and a further important step for our international federation in the development of our sport worldwide.

“Since 2013, we have established Continental Associations on all continents, increased the number of WFDF national member associations to 62 and the number of associations recognised by the National Olympic Committees to 11, focused on the development of organised activity in Africa, modified the WFDF governance structures to increase the influence of athletes in the decision-making process, and further supported the global growth of flying disc sport. Today’s decision will give a further boost to our efforts to increasing the presence of flying disc sports in all countries and on all continents.”

Meanwhile, the IOC has approved South Sudan’s full membership, despite ongoing fighting in the country. The African nation split from Sudan and became independent in 2011, however thousands have been killed and more than 2.2 million displaced after fighting broke out in December 2013 between President Salva Kiir's government and rebels commanded by Riek Machar.

Full IOC recognition set to allow the world’s newest nation to send a team to the summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro next year, under its own flag. “I am delighted and exhilarated,” South Sudan's Olympic chief Wilson Kuoirot said, according to the Reuters news agency. “This will promote reconciliation and national unity. Being a member of the IOC will allow us to send a team to next year's Olympics. At present we have four athletes, all training in Kenya.”

In other news, Senegal Olympic Committee president Mamadou Diagna Ndiaye and United World Wrestling president Nenad Lalovic were today elected as new members of the IOC. The IOC said the appointments have been made to address the falling number of representatives from summer international federations and from Africa.

Fourteen members were re-elected en bloc in the shape of HSH Prince Albert II (Monaco); Syed Shahid Ali (Pakistan); Valeriy Borzov (Ukraine); Ottavio Cinquanta (Italy); Nawal El Moutawakel (Morocco); René Fasel (Switzerland); Patrick Hickey (Ireland); Willi Kaltschmitt Luján (Guam); Gunilla Lindberg (Sweden); HRH the Grand Duke of Luxembourg; Irena Szewinska (Poland); Ching-Kuo Wu (Taiwan); Patrick Baumann (Switzerland); and Rita Subowo (Indonesia).

Lindberg was also re-elected as a member of the IOC Executive Board, while the Session extended the age limit of José Perurena (Spain) for four years, for as long as he remains president of the International World Games Association (IWGA).