When l was at Gaza strip last year l promised that l would give the Palestinian Olympic Team a reception when they arrived in London for the 2012 Olympics. Well l trust people fell l have achieved this by hosting an iftar reception on the 25th of July for them with the International Arab Charity(IAC).It is said about the Olympics that its not the winning but the taking part that matters the most. Well in the case of the Palestinians its more then that as getting here is a job in itself given the numerous obstacles and hurdles placed in their way. It was revealed at the reception that here in London was the first time the team had actually got together, as travel restrictions imposed on the team members from Gaza, Cairo, West Bank and Jerusulem make it impossible for them to meet up in the Middle East.
When we won the Olympic bid in Singapore 2005, we stated that in London you could find 300 odd communities who would support their national sides. Now even though the Palestinian community is one of the smaller ones in London, nonetheless it does exist and the iftar reception was also an opportunity for the team to meet the Palestinian community particularly based in West London. Those there on the night certainly enjoyed meeting the team and their athletes respond well to Palestinians living in London. All we need now is their support as spectators at the various events the atheletes are contending in their individual competitions.
And finally l am sure that the Palestinian team would draw alot of attention here in London and get the support of British sports fans as we have a healthy tradition of backing the underdog. So in participating in the London 2012 Olympics, it will be an important step towards maintaining Palestinian identity amongst not just the nations competing but also British public.