NICOSIA, 26 May 2009 – The family of
the Small States of Europe may well grow next week.
Montenegro is waiting to be accepted in the family—which
will be decided at the General Assembly of the GSSE
scheduled to be held here on 1 June, a few hours before
the Opening Ceremony of the XIII Games. If Montenegro is
accepted, this will mark the first enlargement of the
Movement since its very beginning in 1985.
By definition, for their eligibility
in the Games, the Small States of Europe are the
countries of the Continent with a population of less
than one million.
Montenegro, which gained independence
in 2006 when it broke away from the union with Serbia,
has a population of 620,000 (2003 census) in an area of
13,812 square kilometres.
The Montenegrin Olympic Committee was
founded in 2006 and was officially recognised by the
International Olympic Committee at its 119th Session in
Guatemala City on 6 July 2007. The MOC had 59 members at
its latest General Assembly, in November 2008.
Montenegro first took part in the
Olympic Games as an independent nation in 2008 in
Beijing, with representation in Athletics (Marathon and
Women’s 100m), Boxing (Heavyweight Class), Judo (Men’s
81kg), Shooting (Men’s 10m Air Pistol and 50m Pistol),
Swimming (Women’s 200m Breaststroke) and Men’s Water
Polo. The Water Polo team was the most successful of the
Montenegrin entries, advancing to the bronze medal
match, but losing to Serbia 6-4.
Before independence, Montenegrin athletes
had competed in Olympic Games under the flags of Serbia
& Montenegro at the Athens Games in 2004 and of
Yugoslavia before that.