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Latest update: 08/06/2009 18:17 +0300

Small States Grow In Number

NICOSIA, 1 June 2009 - Montenegro has been officially accepted into the family of the Small States of Europe, following a decision at the General Assembly, here today, of the GSSE. With the President of the Cyprus Olympic Committee and President of the Organising Committee of the XIII Games of the Small States of Europe, Ouranios Ioannides, presiding over the Assembly, the most important decision taken was the acceptance of Montenegro into the Movement.

Despite the acceptance, however, it remains unclear whether Montenegro will debut at the XIV GSSE in Liechtenstein in 2011, or if their first appearance will be at the XV Games in Luxembourg. The organisers of the next edition of the GSSE expressed their concerns on the extra capacity needed for accommodation and the extended budget required if a ninth country joins the GSSE.

The matter will be discussed again in November, when a final decision will be made.

Other decisions of the General Assembly include the assignment of the XVI Games of 2015 to Iceland, which last hosted the Games in 1997.

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 Womenís 100m), Boxing (Heavyweight Class), Judo (Menís 81kg), Shooting (Menís 10m Air Pistol and 50m Pistol), Swimming (Womenís 200m Breaststroke) and Menís 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.

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