The head of the International Olympic Committee has warned that any athlete not prepared to compete against a rival nation for political or religious reasons in London will be heavily punished.
The intervention of the IOC president, Jacques Rogge, comes after an Algerian athlete withdrew from a race against an Israeli rival during a recent World Cup canoeing regatta in Duisburg, Germany...
...He refused to comment afterwards, but it was later confirmed that he was did so due to pressure from the Algerian government. He returned to competition the next day in the 200m heats.
The head of the Algerian Olympic Committee, Rachid Hanifi, has said it will be up to the Algerian government whether its athletes should compete against Israelis at the Games.
"I know it's a very sensitive question and this is why I said that I will discuss it with the Algerian government, conforming to the recommendations of the IOC, which advocates harmonious co-operation between national Olympic committees and their government," Hanifi told the Associated Press last week.
During the 2004 Games in Athens and the 2008 Olympics, Iran faced criticism after its athletes withdrew from events against Israelis.
"If you think about rugby, you have this wonderful sentence where England and Scotland think about each other as the 'auld enemy'. But they still play every year," said Rogge...
Hmm, I had thought contentions between England and Scotland had cooled a bit since the days of William Wallace, but if the head of the IOC is comparing them to Israel and Iran...?