BEIJING -- With more than two-thirds of its members dead, missing or still fighting Iraqi troops in their homeland, the Kuwait national Olympic team has managed to bring 65 athletes to China for Saturday's opening of the Asian Games and intends to compete even if Iraq is allowed to participate.
In an interview yesterday, the president of Kuwait's National Olympic Committee, Sheik Ahmad Fahad al-Sabah, said his country would not boycott the games as some other gulf states have threatened if Iraq is not banned.
Jordan -- citing financial reasons, according to Chinese officials -- already has dropped out. But a multination boycott would deliver a major blow to China's effort to use the 16-day sports meet to showcase its post-Tiananmen Square stability to Asia and the Middle East, where interest in the Olympic-style games is high.
The possibility of some gulf nations' boycotting the Asian Games, which are held every four years and which are expected to draw about 6,500 athletes and more than 100,000 visitors, will come to a head tomorrow when the 38-nation Olympic Council of Asia is scheduled to vote on whether the Iraqi team can compete.