The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has awarded the Gambia National Olympic Committee president and vice president of the World Baseball Softball Confederation WBSC Breatice Allen with the Olympic Order.
Established in 1975, the Olympic Order is the highest award of the Olympic Movement and it is awarded for particularly distinguished contributions to the Olympic Movement.
The award took place at the 141st IOC session in Mumbai, India. Others who got the Olympic Order were IOC member and former international badminton player, the third president of the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) Sir Craig Reedie (United Kingdom), IOC Honorary Member Ung Chang of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and Andrzej Kra?nicki and a former president of the National Olympic Committee of Poland.
The WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari personally congratulated Beatrice Allen on the side lines of the IOC Session: “Congratulations to my friend Beatrice Allen who achieved the highest recognition in sport,” President Fraccari said. “Thank you to be always on my side as vice president of the WBSC.”
Born in Gambia in 1950, Allen is the Gambia National Olympic Committee president and an expert in international development and gender issues. She also has a storied career within the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Presenting her with the Olympic Order, IOC President Thomas Bach said: “You have dedicated your life to making the world a better place through sport and to improving the lives of our fellow human beings.”
Emphasising Allen’s role as a tireless advocate for gender equality, Bach continued: “Promoting women in and through sport has been a central theme throughout your career. Whether as the head of the Gambia Softball Association, chairwoman of ANOCA women and sports commission, vice president of the World Baseball Softball Confederation or president of the Gambian NOC – you have made it your mission to advance the role of women on and off the field of play. For over a decade, the IOC has been able to count on your great experience, especially the many IOC commissions where you actively contributed with all your expertise, knowledge and insight. You have made your mark in the Olympic Movement with your vision, energy and exceptional personality. For this, we will always be grateful.”
The 141st IOC session also extended the term in office of IOC Member Luis Mejia Oviedo (Dominican Republic), who has been a WBSC vice president since 2022. As president of the Dominican Republic National Olympic Committee, Mr Mejía Oviedo, a big baseball/softball fan, watched his country claim an historic bronze medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. It was the first Olympic medal in a team sport for the Dominican Republic.
The session also honoured Mamadou Ndiaye of Senegal, who was elected to the membership in 2015. Although he is stepping down at the end of 2023, Ndiaye will serve as the 4th Summer Youth Olympic Games Dakar 2026 Organising Committee president. Baseball will feature on the 2026 Youth Olympics programme.