Olympics 2021: BER, KOS and other country acronyms you might not recognise

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People around the world have been struggling out of bed early this week, bleary-eyed, clinging to cups of coffee and scrambling haplessly in the dark in search of the TV remote to catch the latest action from the Tokyo Olympics.

There’s nothing worse than having made all that effort to claw your way out from under the duvet and master the tournament’s chaotic events schedule, only to be confounded by the International Olympic Committee’s tricksy approach to country abbreviations.

All 206 participating nations have been handed a three-letter designation, not all of which are as self-evident as you might hope.

BER for Bermuda and KOS for Kosovo make sense but, rather than RUS, Russia is known as ROC this time around - denoting Russian Olympic Committee - in response to the country’s official ban as a result of 2019 doping scandal that rocked the world of athletics, which nevertheless does not prohibit all Russian athletes from competing.

So, if you’re baffled by who’s representing where in the big women’s judo clash between UZB and CPV this afternoon, the following alphabetical list should help.

AFG Afghanistan

ALB Albania

ALG Algeria

AND Andorra

ANG Angola

ANT Antigua and Barbuda

ARG Argentina

ARM Armenia

ARU Aruba

ASA American Samoa

AUS Australia

AUT Austria

AZE Azerbaijan

BAH Bahamas

BAN Bangladesh

BAR Barbados

BDI Burundi

BEL Belgium

BEN Benin

BER Bermuda

BHU Bhutan

BIH Bosnia and Herzegovina

BIZ Belize

BLR Belarus

BOL Bolivia

BOT Botswana

BRA Brazil

BRN Bahrain

BRU Brunei

BUL Bulgaria

BUR Burkina Faso

CAF Central African Republic

CAM Cambodia

CAN Canada

CAY Cayman Islands

CGO Republic of the Congo

CHA Chad

CHI Chile

CHN China

CIV Ivory Coast

CMR Cameroon

COD Democratic Republic of the Congo

COK Cook Islands

COL Colombia

COM Comoros

CPV Cape Verde

CRC Costa Rica

CRO Croatia

CUB Cuba

CYP Cyprus

CZE Czech Republic

DEN Denmark

DJI Djibouti

DMA Dominica

DOM Dominican Republic

ECU Ecuador

EGY Egypt

ERI Eritrea

ESA El Salvador

ESP Spain

EST Estonia

ETH Ethiopia


FIN Finland

FRA France

FSM Federated States of Micronesia

GAB Gabon

GAM The Gambia

GBR Great Britain

GBS Guinea-Bissau

GEO Georgia

GEQ Equatorial Guinea

GER Germany

GHA Ghana

GRE Greece

GRN Grenada

GUA Guatemala

GUI Guinea

GUM Guam

GUY Guyana

HAI Haiti

HKG Hong Kong

HON Honduras

HUN Hungary

INA Indonesia

IND India

IRI Iran

IRL Ireland

IRQ Iraq

ISL Iceland

ISR Israel

ISV US Virgin Islands

ITA Italy

IVB British Virgin Islands

JAM Jamaica

JOR Jordan

JPN Japan

KAZ Kazakhstan

KEN Kenya

KGZ Kyrgyzstan

KIR Kiribati

KOR South Korea

KOS Kosovo

KSA Saudi Arabia

KUW Kuwait

LAO Laos

LAT Latvia

LBA Libya

LBN Lebanon

LBR Liberia

LCA Saint Lucia

LES Lesotho

LIE Liechtenstein

LTU Lithuania

LUX Luxembourg

MAD Madagascar

MAR Morocco

MAS Malaysia

MAW Malawi

MDA Moldova

MDV Maldives

MEX Mexico

MGL Mongolia

MHL Marshall Islands

MKD North Macedonia

MLI Mali

MLT Malta

MNE Montenegro

MON Monaco

MOZ Mozambique

MRI Mauritius

MTN Mauritania

MYA Myanmar

NAM Namibia

NCA Nicaragua

NED Netherlands

NEP Nepal

NGR Nigeria

NIG Niger

NOR Norway

NRU Nauru

NZL New Zealand

OMA Oman

PAK Pakistan

PAN Panama

PAR Paraguay

PER Peru

PHI Philippines

PLE Palestine

PLW Palau

PNG Papua New Guinea

POL Poland

POR Portugal

PRK North Korea

PUR Puerto Rico

QAT Qatar

ROU Romania

ROC Russian Olympic Committee

RSA South Africa

RWA Rwanda

SAM Samoa

SEN Senegal

SEY Seychelles

SGP Singapore

SKN Saint Kitts and Nevis

SLE Sierra Leone

SLO Slovenia

SMR San Marino

SOL Solomon Islands

SOM Somalia

SRB Serbia

SRI Sri Lanka

SSD South Sudan

STP Sao Tome and Principe

SUD Sudan

SUI Switzerland

SUR Suriname

SVK Slovakia

SWE Sweden

SWZ Eswatini

SYR Syria

TAN Tanzania

TGA Tonga

THA Thailand

TJK Tajikistan

TKM Turkmenistan

TLS East Timor

TOG Togo

TPE Taipei

TTO Trinidad and Tobago

TUN Tunisia

TUR Turkey

TUV Tuvalu

UAE United Arab Emirates

UGA Uganda

UKR Ukraine

URU Uruguay

USA United States

UZB Uzbekistan

VAN Vanuatu

VEN Venezuela

VIE Vietnam

VIN Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

YEM Yemen

ZAM Zambia

ZIM Zimbabwe

Weightlifter Guryeva wins Turkmenistan’s 1st Olympic medal

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The 21-year-old Guryeva says “no sport in Turkmenistan has had a medal” and adds “I’m so in shock.”

TOKYO, Japan — Sparsely populated and isolated from most of the outside world, Turkmenistan has finally won its first Olympic medal since independence from the Soviet Union.

Weightlifter Polina Guryeva won a silver medal for the Central Asian nation at the Tokyo Games on Tuesday, and then predicted she would go down in the country’s history.

“I was in shock because it’s the first Olympic medal in the history of the Turkmen people. It’s the first medal, which I won. No sport in Turkmenistan has had a medal, not one medal,” the 21-year-old Guryeva said. “I think I’ve entered the history of Turkmenistan by winning a medal. I’m so in shock.”

Guryeva lifted a total 217 kilograms in the 59-kilogram category, edging Mikiko Andoh of Japan for second place. Kuo Hsing-Chun of Taiwan won gold by lifting 236kg.

Guryeva, who calls Kuo her “idol” and copies her training exercises, finished in 28th place at the 2019 world championships while competing one weight category higher. On her coach’s advice, she used the one-year Olympic delay caused by the coronavirus pandemic to reset, dropping down a class.

“When the pandemic began, I didn’t have a chance of qualifying,” she said. “In October, I dropped down and started training. And I went to the Asian Championships in Uzbekistan, lifted 211 total, and then I got the chance to go to the Olympics. And then I started training even harder to get this medal.”

Guryeva will return home to a country which has often had little contact with the outside world but is trying to make its name in the world of sports. The gas-rich nation sent two medalists to the Soviet Union’s Olympic teams for the 1956 and 1960 Games but success has been rare since.

Hosting the 2018 weightlifting world championships at a lavish new sports complex in the capital, Ashgabat, was one step toward raising the country’s profile. Turkmenistan’s authoritarian president, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, is a fan of cycling and the country was scheduled to hold the track cycling championships this year, too, but they were moved because of the pandemic.

The Turkmenistan government says it has not had any cases of COVID-19 but has made vaccinations mandatory.

For Kuo, the victory was about completing a set of major championship medals. The Taiwanese lifter finally added Olympic gold to her four world titles.

“I have all the pieces together. Now I am very happy,” she said through a translator.

Andoh lifted a total of 214kg for bronze despite what she later revealed was severe pain in her feet. After her last lift, she fell to the ground on stage with a smile and was helped away by her coaches.

In the 64-kilogram category, Maude Charron got hear a song at the Olympics that her “idol” never did — the Canadian national anthem.

Charron won an unusually open competition with six women in the running for a place on the podium ahead of their last lifts. Charron’s total of 236kg was four more than silver medalist Giorgia Bordignon of Italy and six ahead of Chen Wen-Huei of Taiwan.

Christine Girard, the Olympic champion from the 2012 London Games, never got to stand on the top step of the podium while “O Canada” was played because she originally finished in third place. The lifters that finished above her, from Kazakhstan and Russia, both later tested positive for doping.

“I asked her how to prepare for the games, how not to be too intimidated by the rings, and she wrote me a message,” Charron said. “Now I just feel like that’s her medal, that’s her moment because she didn’t have it in real time.”

Weightlifting has reallocated dozens of past Olympic medals and cut the Tokyo allocation for countries which racked up the most doping offenses.

Who are ISV, MAR, TPE and more? Tokyo 2020 Olympics country codes explained

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The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are finally underway after a year-long delay due to the Covid-19 pandemic. No spectators are permitted in any of the venues used in the event after Japan declared a state of emergency in the country due to rising cases of the virus.

However, there is still an opportunity for fans to cheer on their nation at home with over 11,300 athletes looking to win a medal for their team this summer.

There are representatives for all 206 countries in the Olympic village in Tokyo ranging from Belgium to Taiwan (Chinese Taipei) and Sweden to Uzbekistan.

Most viewers are aware of who GBR, AUS, USA, GER and NED are associated with, but do you know who MAR, ISV and TPE are used for?

Fear not, without further ado, Birmingham Live breaks down each country’s Olympic code at this summer’s Games and to make it even better, it’s in alphabetical order.

Afghanistan - AFG

Albania - ALB

Algeria - ALG

American Samoa - ASA

Andorra - AND

Angola - ANG

Antigua and Barbuda - ANT

Argentina - ARG

Armenia - ARM

Aruba - ARU

Australia - AUS

Austria - AUT

Azerbaijan - AZE

Bahamas - BAH

Bahrain - BRN

Bangladesh - BAN

Barbados - BAR

Belarus - BLR

Belgium - BEL

Belize - BIZ

Bermuda - BER

Benin - BEN

Bhutan - BHU

Bolivia - BOL

Bosnia and Herzegovina - BIH

Botswana - BOT

Brazil - BRA

The British Virgin Islands - IVB

Brunei - BRU

Bulgaria - BUL

Burkina Faso - BUR

Burundi - BDI

Cambodia - CAM

Cameroon - CMR

Canada - CAN

Cape Verde - CPV

Cayman Islands - CAY

Central African Republic - CAF

Chad - CHA

Chile - CHI

China - CHN

Colombia - COL

Comoros - COM

Congo, Republic of the - CGO

Congo, Democratic Republic of the - COD

The Cook Islands - COK

Costa Rica - CRC

Cote d’Ivoire - CIV

Croatia - CRO

Cuba - CUB

Cyprus - CYP

Czech Republic - CZE

Denmark - DEN

Djibouti - DJI

Dominica - DMA

The Dominican Republic - DOM

East Timor (Timor-Leste) - TLS

Ecuador - ECU

Egypt - EGY

El Salvador - ESA

Equatorial Guinea - GEQ

Eritrea - ERI

Estonia - EST

Ethiopia - ETH

Fiji - FIJ

Finland - FIN

France - FRA

Gabon - GAB

The Gambia - GAM

Georgia - GEO

Germany - GER

Ghana - GHA

Greece - GRE

Grenada - GRN

Guam - GUM

Guatemala - GUA

Guinea - GUI

Guinea-Bissau - GBS

Guyana - GUY

Haiti - HAI

Honduras - HON

Hong Kong - HKG

Hungary - HUN

Iceland - ISL

India - IND

Indonesia - INA

Iran - IRI

Iraq - IRQ

Ireland - IRL

Israel - ISR

Italy - ITA

Jamaica - JAM

Japan - JPN

Jordan - JOR

Kazakhstan - KAZ

Kenya - KEN

Kiribati - KIR

Korea, North (PDR of Korea) - PRK

Korea, South - KOR

Kosovo - KOS

Kuwait - KUW

Kyrgyzstan - KGZ

Laos - LAO

Latvia - LAT

Lebanon - LIB

Lesotho - LES

Liberia - LBR

Libya - LBA

Liechtenstein - LIE

Lithuania - LTU

Luxembourg - LUX

Macedonia - MKD

Madagascar - MAD

Malawi - MAW

Malaysia - MAS

The Maldives - MDV

Mali - MLI

Malta - MLT

Marshall Islands - MHL

Mauritania - MTN

Mauritius - MRI

Mexico - MEX

Micronesia - FSM

Moldova - MDA

Monaco - MON

Mongolia - MGL

Montenegro - MNE

Morocco - MAR

Mozambique - MOZ

Myanmar (Burma) - MYA

Namibia - NAM

Nauru - NRU

Nepal - NEP

Netherlands - NED

New Zealand - NZL

Nicaragua - NCA

Niger - NIG

Nigeria - NGR

Norway - NOR

Oman - OMA

Pakistan - PAK

Palau - PLW

Palestine - PLE

Panama - PAN

Papua New Guinea - PNG

Paraguay - PAR

Peru - PER

Philippines - PHI

Poland - POL

Portugal - POR

Puerto Rico - PUR

Qatar - QAT

Romania - ROU

Russian Federation - RUS

Rwanda - RWA

Saint Kitts and Nevis - SKN

Saint Lucia - LCA

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines - VIN

Samoa - SAM

San Marino - SMR

Sao Tome and Principe - STP

Saudi Arabia - KSA

Senegal - SEN

Serbia - SRB

Seychelles - SEY

Sierra Leone - SLE

Singapore - SIN

Slovakia - SVK

Slovenia - SLO

Solomon Islands - SOL

Somalia - SOM

South Africa - RSA

Spain - ESP

Sri Lanka - SRI

Sudan - SUD

Suriname - SUR

Swaziland - SWZ

Sweden - SWE

Switzerland - SUI

Syria - SYR

Taiwan (Chinese Taipei) - TPE

Tajikistan - TJK

Tanzania - TAN

Thailand - THA

Togo - TOG

Tonga - TGA

Trinidad and Tobago - TRI

Tunisia - TUN

Turkey - TUR

Turkmenistan - TKM

Tuvalu - TUV

Uganda - UGA

Ukraine - UKR

United Arab Emirates - UAE

United Kingdom (Great Britain) - GBR

United States - USA

Uruguay - URU

Uzbekistan - UZB

Vanuatu - VAN

Venezuela - VEN

Vietnam - VIE

Virgin Islands - ISV

Yemen - YEM

Zambia - ZAM

Zimbabwe - ZIM