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Two Champs, Two Princes on IOC

February 5, 1998

NAGANO, Japan (AP) _ Two former Olympic gold medalists and two European princes were among nine new members appointed today to the International Olympic Committee.

Polish sprinter Irena Szewinska, winner of seven Olympic medals, and Morocco’s Nawal El Moutawakel Bennis, gold medalist in the women’s 400-meter hurdles at the 1984 Los Angeles Games, were elected at the close of the IOC session in Nagano.

Szewinska won gold in the 1,600-meter relay and silver in the long jump and 200 meters in Tokyo in 1964, took gold in the 200 and bronze in the 100 in Mexico in 1968, and gold in the 400 in Montreal in 1976. She held world records in the 100, 200 and 400.

El Moutawakel is the first woman from a Moslem country to join the IOC, which now has 118 members.

The appointments of Szewinska and El Moutawakel bring the number of women on the IOC to 12. That’s above the 10 percent quota which the IOC has set for itself and other Olympic organizations.

The new members also include Prince Henri of Luxembourg and Crown Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands.

Prince Henri replaces his father, the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, who retired today as the longtime doyen of the IOC. In recognition of his services, he was granted the IOC’s highest award _ the gold Olympic order.

Willem-Alexander is in line to succeed his mother, Queen Beatrix, and become King Willem IV. The prince is an avid sports fan who was seen wildly celebrating in Atlanta when the Dutch won the gold medal in men’s volleyball in 1996.

Willem-Alexander’s appointment means the Netherlands has three members on the IOC. The prince joins former judo gold medalist Anton Geesink and international cycling federation president Hein Verbruggen.

The other new members are:

_ Maj. Gen. Mounir Sabet, president of Egypt’s national Olympic committee.

_ Meliton Sanchez Rivas, president of Panama’s Olympic committee.

_ Leopold Wallner, president of Austria’s Olympic committee.

_ Ser Miang NG, chairman of the Singapore Sports Council.

_ Mohammad Samih Moudallal, former world weightlifting champion and president of the Syrian Olympic committee.

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