The European Olympic Committees (EOC) does not recognise the Faroe Islands – a self-governing region of Denmark – but a new ruling means Faroese athletes will be able to compete in sports where the islands have a recognised national governing body.
This means Faroese athletes will be allowed to compete this summer at the European Games in Minsk in archery, badminton, judo and table tennis.
Vice-president of the Faroese Confederation of Sports and Olympic Committee (FCSOC), Jon Heystoy, is pleased with the EOC’s decision.
“This is a really positive step forward and a huge relief for our athletes who have been putting their heart and soul into preparing to compete in their respective events at the European Games later this year,” Hestoy said.
“We believe this decision represents another milestone in our journey to becoming universally recognised by the international sport movement, including the International Olympic Committee, which will have a profound impact on our athletes and the ongoing development of sport in the Faroe Islands.”
The European Games are held every four years and around 6,000 athletes compete at the Games. Faroese athletes will also be able to compete under the Faroese flag at the European Youth Olympic Festival, which is held every other year for athletes aged 14 to 18. Around 3,600 athletes compete at the Youth Festival, which this year will be held in Azerbaijan. Athletes from the Faroe Islands will be allowed to compete in handball, judo, swimming and volleyball. Additionally, the Faroe Islands is invited as an observer at the Games of Small States of Europe in 2019.
The Faroe Islands started campaigning for Olympic recognition over forty years ago, and in recent years have re-ignited their quest to gain Olympic inclusion.
Representatives from FCSOC have been present at recent EOC meetings and held talks with the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The Faroe Islands have been backed by the Danish, Norwegian and Icelandic National Olympic Committees.
While they do not yet have IOC recognition, the Faroe Islands are a founding member of the International Paralympic Committee and have taken part in every summer Paralympic Games since 1984.
Words: Levi Hanssen
Originally published on: Faroeislands.fo