Why doesn’t Churandy Martina in Tokyo carry the Curaçao flag

Above image: NOS screenshot

The Olympic fire in Tokyo has just been lit. This is the official start signal for the Summer Games that will run until August 8. Shorandi Martina holding the Dutch flag. He does this with Kate Oldenbuffing’s skateboard. The 37-year-old Martina starts his first fifth games, but why doesn’t Martina carry the Curaçao flag?

The island’s sports directors are unanimous in the view that Curaçao owes it entirely to itself. After the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles in 2010, the island ended up in a no-man’s-land from a sporting point of view. The country does not have an Olympic Committee and athletes are forced to choose Holland or Aruba.


But why is one Antillean allowed to send a delegation to the Olympics while another is not? Both Aruba and Curaçao are countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. However, Aruba has an Olympic Committee and Curaçao does not.

The problem lies in the 1996 IOC clause, when the IOC decided that only independent countries should have their own National Olympic Committee.

When this rule was introduced, the IOC respected semi-autonomous countries that already had their own committees at the time, such as Aruba. The island had left the Antilles administratively in 1986 and continued as a state within the kingdom.

Although Aruba was not independent, it retained the European Olympic Committee and Olympic status. In 1996, Curaçao fell administratively under the control of the Netherlands Antilles and its athletes under the Olympic Committee of the Netherlands Antilles.


In 2010 everything changed. The Netherlands Antilles was administratively dissolved on 10 October. So Curaçao continued as a state within the kingdom. Although the island became self-governing, it was not independent, as the International Olympic Committee had demanded since 1996.

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The Olympic Committee of the Netherlands Antilles tried to salvage its status. The president of the NAOC, the late William Millerson, says an agreement has been reached with the International Olympic Committee. He allowed his organization to continue, but not under a new name. According to the International Olympic Committee, that would set a precedent. A country like England has always wanted to leave the UK to start its own Special Olympics Committee, but the IOC doesn’t.

Former NAOC President Rimko Tevredin says the IOC advised them to keep things together. “Let politics create those preconditions, so that there remains a common Olympic movement.”

For a while it seemed to be going well, at a 2009 conference at the Plaza Hotel, the world of politics and sports at that time was on the same page. But with the arrival of the new government (baffles, editor) It ended quickly,” says Radhi.

“Curacao had to have its Olympic representation and it would have its Olympic representation. The IOC told us: ‘It doesn’t make waves,’ but the new winds through sport and politics have their own agenda and have convinced the community that Curaçao will solve this through lawsuits.”

If Curaçao did not publish much and would continue to use the NAOC name, they were willing to cooperate in Switzerland. But there was a problem. “Nota bene of our people: the nationalist politicians and administrators who wanted to show the world the flag of Curaçao. They demanded recognition and filed a lawsuit against the IOC,” Millerson said in 2016.


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The lawsuits were lost. Road Olympic Committee and the delegation of the Antilles. Since then, athletes from Curaçao, as well as St. Maarten, for example, had to choose between Aruba or the Netherlands.

The most famous athlete with this problem is Curacao athlete Churandi Martina. In order to be able to play excellent sports, he chose to move out of Holland.

Former Olympic athlete Cor van Anholt mentions in 2000 in Sydney, the consequences of the development of sports in Curaçao dramatic.

Incompetent politicians

“Not getting into an Olympic committee also means not getting into the Central American and Caribbean Games, the South American Games, the Pan American Games, and the Youth Olympics,” Sativide says.

“The sports talents on our island immediately lost all the podiums where they could compete with the rest of the region and the world. Ignorant sports directors and incompetent politicians got involved in a process in which we were carefully invested as NAOC.”

A number of sports federations are still able to join the regional or global sports world through international federations. For example, CONCACAF and FIFA decided to give the FFK access to its tournaments. Volleyball and baseball players are also allowed to participate globally.

“The top athletes will come, like Chorandi Martina,” van Anholt says. “The Netherlands welcomed him – with his talent – with open arms. But talented athletes who have not yet reached their level do not receive this call. Now they have to do everything on their own.”


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