IOC President Thomas Bach started his tour of the Caribbean with a visit to Costa Rica ©Panam Sports

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has started a tour of the Caribbean, which is due to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the Puerto Rico Olympic Committee (COPUR).

Bach started his tour in Costa Rica today and is set to visit a series of countries and islands over the next two weeks including Aruba, Barbados, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Puerto Rico.

During his time in Costa Rica Bach was accompanied by Panam Sports President Neven Ilic and met members of the National Olympic Committee family, athletes and children. 

His trip to the Caribbean comes at a time when the IOC faces increasing scrutiny over its decision to consider readmitting Russian and Belarusian athletes under a neutral banner despite the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Bach is leading a delegation that includes the IOC’s director of Olympic Solidarity and head of National Olympic Committee relations James Macleod and Panam Sports President Neven Ilic.

The German official is expected to head to Cuba tomorrow (March 2) where he is due to meet Cuban Olympic Committee (COC) officials and athletes training for next year’s Olympics in Paris.

Roberto León Richards, President of the COC, had visited Bach at Olympic House in Lausanne last year.

During his time in Cuban capital Havana, Bach is also due to visit the COC headquarters, the Ciudad Deportiva Coliseum and the Pan-American Stadium which staged the 1991 Pan American Games.

Bach is then set to visit Jamaica from Friday (March 3) to Sunday (March 5).

This is scheduled to be followed by a three-day trip to the Dominican Republic where he is expected to meet to the country’s President Luis Abinader and Garibaldy Bautista, head of the Dominican Republic Olympic Committee, as well as tour the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center, a venue during the 2003 Pan American Games.

Bach is expected to arrive in Puerto Rico from the Dominican Republic on Monday (March 7) before leaving a day later.

The visit is due to see Bach hold a meeting with members of the COPUR’s Executive Committee and Athletes’ Committee at the Casa Olímpica in San Juan.

This opened in 1913 as the first YMCA in Puerto Rico. 

In 1992, when it became the headquarters for the COPUR, it was renamed Casa Olímpica and now doubles as a romantic location for weddings.

He is also set to celebrate the COPUR’s 75th anniversary by attending a gala at the Antiguo Casino de Puerto Rico and participate in activities marking International Women's Day on Wednesday (March 8).

Thomas Bach will visit the headquarters of the Puerto Rico Olympic Committee at Casa Olímpica in San Juan ©COPUR
Thomas Bach will visit the headquarters of the Puerto Rico Olympic Committee at Casa Olímpica in San Juan ©COPUR

"We took the opportunity for him to join the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Olympic Committee," said COPUR President Sara Rosario.

"There will be a lot of work on the agenda to continue advancing the IOC plans with the topics of high performance sport in the area, gender equality and issues that support us as a country to grow.

"A visit from an IOC President is always positive for our Olympic Committee."

Bach will be the fourth IOC leader to visit Puerto Rico, following Avery Brundage, Lord Killanin and Juan Antonio Samaranch.

He will then conclude his visit of the Caribbean by travelling to Aruba, where he will be hosted by IOC vice-president Nicole Hoevertsz, President of the local NOC.