Four Iraq tem members allowed to participate in the Beijing Olympics

Olympic committee had threatened the Iraq team would be banned from the Games. But four of the team who met all the qualification and deadline criteria arrived in Beijing on Tuesday.

The four — women’s sprinter Dana Hussein, Haidar Nasir in men’s discus, and men’s double-scull rowers Haidar Nozad and Hamzah Hussein — were well outnumbered by journalists and others who turned out to meet them at the airport. But they were clearly glad to finally make it to the Olympics.

The small contingent arrived in China early on Tuesday and was greeted at Beijing's airport by Iraqi ambassador to China, Mohammad Sabir Ismail, who said: "It’s very important for us to be here.”

The IOC in May suspended Iraq citing illegal government intervention in Olympic matters. The decision was reversed late last week, clearing the way for two rowers and two track and field athletes to compete.

“I’m so happy I am here now,” rower Haidar Nozad told the Associated Press. “I am so excited. It is my dream.”