Tuesday, March 25, 2008

‘See you when I return with gold from Beijing’

Serbia’s top swimmer Milorad Cavic’s suspension imposed be the European Swimming Federation (LEN) on the swimmer at the European Championships in Eindhoven, Holland has been lifted. The federation disqualified the Serbian swimmer for wearing a T-shirt at the medals ceremony that read “Kosovo is Serbia”. The rationale behind the ruling is yet to be made officially announced, while the 50-metre European record holder in the butterfly event is anxious to be informed of the LEN’s verdict.

- “The suspension has expired and I can continue competing. Gross injustice was done to me in Eindhoven, but what matters now is that it’s all behind me and that I can resume my preparations for the Beijing Games. It’s really important to me that the truth become known and I hope it happens soon. I would be most pleased if the suspension was overturned,” said Milorad Cavic during his reception at the office of acting Belgrade mayor Zoran Alimpic.
Cavic leaves for the USA, where he is to continue with his preparations for the Olympic Games. His primary goal remains a medal at the Beijing Games, followed by the swimmer’s celebrations of the silverware with the fans in Belgrade.

- “I have seen on TV many times before how our national teams were welcomed outside the Belgrade City Hall after winning tournaments, and I truly hope I’ll be in their shoes one day. I think I have realistic chances of winning a medal in Beijing,” adds Cavic.

Zoran Alimpic, acting Belgrade City mayor, granted the European swimming champion a book on Serbian history and promised him a reception outside the Hall on his victorious return from the Olympic Games.

- “European Swimming Federation have made a dreadful mistake when they suspended Milorad. The writing on his shirt that read “Kosovo is Serbia” is more of a geographic than political message, as Kosovo is part of Serbia. I trust Milorad will soon forget all about this incident and focus on his preparations for the Olympics. If he wins a medal we will most definitely organize a marvellous reception for him,” says Alimpic, who announced that the City of Belgrade will financially support all Serbian Olympic athletes with 40,000 Dinars of monthly reward.

What will Belgrade do to provide training conditions worthy of a 100-metre butterfly world record holder?

- “We can’t talk about conditions for a single athlete but of improvement of sports facilities for all our athletes. We are aware the conditions aren’t the best there are, but we hope they will improve in time,” concludes acting Belgrade mayor Zoran Alimpic.

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