The Olympic Movement's response to the challenge of emerging nationalism in sport : an historical reconsideration of GANEFO / Russell Field

Field, Russell

Edited by [s.n.] - 2011

This paper is a case study of the Games of the New Emerging Forces (GANEFO) and its uneasy relationship with the IOC. GANEFO was an international multi-sport event that took place in Djakarta, Indonesia, in November 1963. Approximately 3000 athletes and officials from - but not necessarily officiall representing - anywhere from 35 to 51 nations (estimates at the time varied) met in the Indonesian capital and competed in 20 athletics events (virtually all of them Olympic and Western sports) as well as cultural festivities. Athletes hailed primarily from recently decolonized countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, which were labelled the "new emerging forces" by Indonesian President Sukarno in his attempt to situate his nation as a regional power. The largest teams (after the hosts), however, represented the Second World, the People's Republic of China and the Soviet Union (and there were athletes in attendance who travelled from Western European nations). In such an environment, GANEFO was an explicit attempt to link sport to the politics of anti-imperialism (although its genesis was also related to diplomatic problems that arose from Indonesia's hosting of the IV Asian Games in 1962). In response, the IOC expressed concern to the IFs that athletes might compromise their eligibility for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics by competing against athletes from non-recognized countries and, following GANEFO, athletes from Indonesia and North Korea faced such sanctions. Beyond any sporting consequences, however, Sukarno intended GANEFO to be the sporting arm of a larger unrealized political movement, but except for an Asian GANEFO hosted by Cambodia in 1966, the Games themselves were never held again. The report is divided in five sections that proceed along thematic and chronological lines : 1) Events that led to GANEFO, primarily the controversies that arose at the IV Asian Games in Djakarta in 1962, and the increasing challenges posed by political intererence in sport; 2) Preparations for GANEFO and the IOC response to these events; 3) GANEFO itseld in November 1963; 4) Debates surrounding the IOC and IF response to GANEFO; and 5) the impact of GANEFO on sport in 1964 and afterwards.

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