The government of Laos is preparing to accept two athletes of Lao descent from the USA and France to join sporting teams representing Laos in upcoming competitions.
According to a report by Lao Youth Radio, the National Olympic Committee of Laos (NOCL) has announced it has requested athletes in boxing and cycling from the USA and France join the Lao teams.
The two athletes have been identified as Mr. Walter Sarnoi Oupathana, a highly experienced boxer from the United States, and Ms. Fanny Marie Cauchois, a cyclist of French citizenship.
Both athletes are foreign citizens but are of Lao ethnicity.
Head of the Elite Sports Department under Ministry of Education and Sports, Mr. Sengphone Phon-Amad, said in previous years, many fans had hoped to see overseas Lao athletes join the teams from Laos. One particular fan favorite was Billy Kedkeo Phomphone, a French football star, however, the Lao government at that time did not wish to accept foreign athletes.
The government of Laos has since changed its stance on the issue, accepting athletes of Lao descent to join national teams to enhance the potential for Laos in sports, said Mr. Sengphone Phon-Amad.
Laos formed its National Olympic Committee (NOC) in 1975 and was fully recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1980 at the IOC session in Lake Placid.
Laos’s first Olympic appearance was in 1980 at Moscow. The country competed again in 1988 through 2012. It has not competed at the Olympic Winter Games.