From 12 to 17 November, IOC President Thomas Bach is in Johannesburg (South Africa).
Accompanied by IOC Executive Board member Sam Ramsamy, President Bach went to Pretoria to meet the South African President, Jacob Zuma, in the presence of the Minister of Sport and Leisure, Fikile Mbalua, before attending the opening ceremony of the 4th World Conference on Doping in Sport, organised by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
This Friday, accompanied by Sam Ramsamy, President Bach was received by South African Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe. Fikile Mbalula and Gert Oosthuizen, the Minister and Deputy Minister of Sport and Leisure respectively, were also present.
Addressing the participants at the first session of the Conference, President Bach called for greater efforts in the joint fight against doping, declaring: “Our joint efforts have one goal: we want to protect the majority of the athletes who compete in the spirit of fair play. Protecting these clean athletes must be our ultimate goal. It must have top priority in all our decisions and initiatives.” He also called for state authorities to do more to severely punish those behind doping, including the dealers, agents, coaches, doctors and scientists involved. As regards the testing programme for Sochi 2014 being the most stringent in Winter Games history, he announced that: “the IOC has increased the number of pre-competition tests from 804 for Vancouver to 1,269 for Sochi. That is an increase of 57 per cent. In all, we will perform 2,453 tests, compared with 2,149 in Vancouver. That is an increase of 14 per cent – with a special focus on team sports.”
At the same Conference Claudia Bokel, Chair of the Athletes’ Commission and a former Olympic fencer, said that she understood the inconveniences athletes had to endure due to anti-doping procedures, but that these were a small price to pay considering the alternative. “I thought it was such a hassle,” she said, describing her initial reaction to the whereabouts rule. “I then talked with many other athletes from many federations and I realised that if I didn’t do it … we would not be able to catch any dopers, and more importantly we wouldn’t keep any athletes from doping! It is not only about the amount of athletes who are caught, it is also about the deterrent effect for athletes to get caught through the whereabouts system.”
Speaking about the adoption of the World Anti-Doping Code by the WADA Foundation Board on 15 November, President Bach reiterated his support for the changes made to the Code, which included an increase in the ban on serious offenders from two years to four years, an extension of the statute of limitations from 8 years to 10 years, and rules to facilitate the punishment of members of an athlete’s entourage involved in doping. With respect to this, President Bach declared: “The new measures are an excellent step forward. It is a much-improved Code, but it alone is not enough. We need even more sophisticated targeted tests, more individual profiling, and more scientific research. We must consider further measures in our continued fight against doping in sport.”
During his time in Johannesburg, the IOC President has met the French Minister of Sport, Youth, Popular Education and Community Life, Valérie Fourneyron; WADA President John Fahey; IOC Vice-Presidents John Coates and Craig Reedie; IOC members Richard W. Pound and Ugur Erderner; IOC honorary member and Medical Commission Chairman Arne Ljungqvist; the President of the Badminton World Federation (BWF), Poul-Erik Høyer; International Cycling Union (UCI) President Brian Cookson; and Jamaican NOC President Mike Fennell. He has also attended a reception given by the South African Minister of Sport and Recreation, Fikile Mbalula, and one hosted by IOC member Sam Ramsamy.
On 15 November, IOC Vice-President Craig Reedie was elected as WADA President by the WADA Foundation Board at the Conference in Johannesburg. He was the only candidate, and succeeds John Fahey, whose mandate ends at the end of 2013. He will officially take up his post on 1 January 2014.
Anita L. DeFrantz has been awarded World Rowing (FISA)’s Distinguished Service to International Rowing Award, in recognition of her decades of service to international rowing. A FISA Vice-President since 1993, she received the award at the gala dinner of the 2013 World Rowing Coaches Conference organised in Tallinn (Estonia). (See also the “IFs” section below.)
Next week, from 18 to 20 November, Kuwait will host the first Women and Sport Forum for Africa and Asia. Organised jointly by the IOC’s Women and Sport Commission, the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and the Association of NOCs of Africa (ANOCA), the Forum will bring together women leaders from the two continents to discuss common issues that hinder gender equality in their respective continents, and will provide opportunities for participants to share experiences and learn from each other.
Six cities were put forward as applicants to host the 2022 Olympic Winter Games by the deadline of midnight on 14 November. The cities are: Almaty (Kazakhstan), Krakow (Poland), Lviv (Ukraine), Oslo (Norway), Beijing (People’s Republic of China) and Stockholm (Sweden). These six cities will be invited to a seminar from 4 to 6 December 2013 in Lausanne and to take part in an observer programme adapted to their needs during the Sochi Games. The host city election will be held on 31 July 2015, during the 127th IOC Session in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia).
On 13 November, the IOC appointed Kit McConnell as its Sports Director. McConnell, who will join the IOC at the beginning of 2014, is currently Head of the Rugby World Cup and RWC Tournament Director at the International Rugby Board (IRB). From 2000 to 2002, he was the IOC’s Manager of Sport Operations, where he was responsible for the coordination of sport planning with Organising Committees and relations with IFs. Before that, he coordinated the planning of all sports, including relations with each respective IF, for the Sydney 2000 Organising Committee. He will succeed Christophe Dubi, who will be taking over as Olympic Games Executive Director in 2014.
The IOC has awarded the broadcast rights in the Caribbean to CANOC Broadcasting Inc. (CBI) for the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. CBI has acquired the broadcast rights on all media platforms in all languages.
INTERNATIONAL SPORTS FEDERATIONS
FISA has announced the winners of its 2013 World Rowing Awards. Australia’s Kim Crow was voted Female Rower of the Year, while New Zealand men’s pair Eric Murray and Hamish Bond were named Male Crew of the Year. For his part, Norway’s Johan Flodin was voted Coach of the Year, and Australians Gavin Bellis and Kathryn Ross were named Para Crew of the Year. More details on www.worldrowing.com.
The International Boxing Association (AIBA) has announced the launch of the Adapted Sport Manual published by the Peace and Sport Organisation. Since the two organisations signed an MoU in April 2011, AIBA has worked hand in hand with Peace and Sport to promote sustainable peace by raising awareness and educating young people about peace using sporting values as a tool for dialogue and rapprochement. Details on www.aiba.org.
Portugal’s Nuno Merino will represent the Trampoline and Tumbling gymnasts within the Athletes' Commission of the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) for the 2014-2017 period. He was the choice of the gymnasts participating in the 29th Trampoline Gymnastics World Championships, taking place in Sofia (Bulgaria). Merino competed in all the World Championships between 1998 and 2011, and placed sixth at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. Details on www.fig-gymnastics.com.
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has now selected the countries that will host the vast majority of its top-level events in the 2015-2018 cycle, namely 17 competitions in England, Argentina, Belgium and India. Details on www.fih.ch.
The 15th FINA World Championships, held in Barcelona (Spain) from 19 July to 4 August this year, were the most watched in the history of FINA (the International Swimming Federation), reaching a cumulative TV audience of almost 4.5 billion viewers worldwide. The previous edition, in 2011 in Shanghai (People’s Republic of China), had reached almost 3.7 billion. For the 2013 edition, there was a total of 5,156 hours of dedicated coverage (compared with 4,448 in 2011), and the competition was broadcast in 185 territories. Details on www.fina.org.
The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has announced that the Inaugural ITTF Star Awards & Fundraising Dinner will be held on 11 January 2014 in Dubai. The seven awards will honour the athletes who have made table tennis their passion, career and life. Details on www.ittf.com.
The International Triathlon Union (ITU) has announced the appointment of Antonio Fernandez Arimany as its new Director General. Arimany has served as ITU Legal, Finance and Administrative Director since 2010. He will take up his new post on 1 December this year. Details on www.triathlon.org.
Nashwa Al Kindi received the ISAF President Development Award at the International Sailing Federation (ISAF)’s Annual Conference in Muscat (Oman). She was presented with the Award by ISAF President Carlo Croce. Nashwa Al Kindi has been an instrumental figure in the development of female sailors and coaches in Oman, as both athlete and coach. She was also the first Senior Instructor for the national sailing federation, Oman Sail. Details on www.sailing.org.
The International Luge Federation (FIL) is to reorganise the competition sector of its Executive Board after the Olympic Games next year. As a result, Marie Luise Rainer, the current Sports Coordinator, will become Sports Director (artificial track) on 1 April 2014. A World Championship bronze medallist in 1979 and a European Championship silver medallist in 1980, Rainer worked as a coach in Canada and Italy before becoming an FIL technical delegate. For his part, Christian Eigentler will become Technical Director (artificial track). As the coach responsible for young Austrian luge talents, he guided Miriam Kastlunger to the gold medal at the 2012 Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck. Details on www.fil-luge.org.
The International Powerboating Union (UIM) recently held its 86th General Assembly in Auckland (New Zealand). The decisions taken included to recognise the federations of Colombia, Croatia and Venezuela as UIM affiliates. Details on www.uimpowerboating.com.
NATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEES
On 8 November, the Israeli NOC President, Igal Carmi, gave the signal to start the 2013 Olympic Day Run in the city of Ramat Gan. Almost 3,500 people, including 1,500 children, students and soldiers, took part, running distances ranging from 200m to more than 8km, depending on the categories. The NOC President then announced that he would be taking part in the 2014 edition, becoming the first person to sign up. Details on www.olympic.one.co.il.
The Portuguese NOC’s Athletes’ Commission took part in this year’s edition of Olympic Week. Held from 7 to 10 November in Guimarães, one of the European Cities of Sport in 2013, more than 1,000 children had the chance to try out various sports, in the presence of a number of Olympic athletes, who talked about their experience of taking part in the Olympic Games. The results of a study on how Olympism is seen by schoolchildren in Guimarães were also announced on this occasion. Details on www.comiteolimpicoportugal.pt.
The IOC’s “150th anniversary of Pierre de Coubertin, sport as a school of life” Trophy has been awarded to Viera Bebcakova by the Slovak NOC President Frantisek Chmelar. Jan Junger and Kvetoslava Perecinska were awarded the NOC’s bronze insignia and the IOC Women and Sport diploma respectively, at a ceremony held on the occasion of the prize-giving for schools that organised the best Olympic youth festivals across the country. Details on www.olympic.sk.
ORGANISING COMMITTEES FOR THE OLYMPIC GAMES
On 9 November, the Sochi 2014 Olympic torch made a historic spacewalk. As part of the Torch Relay for these Games, Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergei Ryazansky, who had already been on the International Space Station for over a month, ventured out into space and passed the torch from one to the other in a symbolic leg of the Relay. A Soyuz TMA-11M spacecraft was used to transport the Olympic torch from the Baikonour Cosmodrome to the International Space Station.
On 9 November, Rio de Janeiro celebrated 1,000 days to go until it hosts the 2016 Olympic Games, with a series of events taking place across Brazil. In Belém, 1,000 young people joined together inside Mangueirão Stadium – a Rio 2016 pre-Games training venue – to form the number 1,000. The city is currently hosting the biggest ever edition of the Brazilian School Youth Games, with almost 4,000 athletes – aged between 15 and 17 years old –competing in 13 sports disciplines. In Rio, the Municipal Government marked the 1,000-day countdown by opening an observation tower within the Olympic Park.
In addition, the sport pictograms for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games were unveiled last week. For the first time in Games history, every Olympic and Paralympic discipline will be represented by its own iconic graphic symbol, which will be used to guide and inform the public during the Games, for example on venue signposts and tickets.
On 14 and 15 November, an IOC delegation took part in a successful Orientation Seminar with representatives of Tokyo 2020, including the Japanese Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Hakubun Shimomura, who is also responsible for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games for the National Government; Tokyo Governor Naoki Inose; and Japanese Olympic Committee President and IOC member Tsunekazu Takeda.
Led by the IOC’s Executive Director for the Olympic Games, Gilbert Felli, the delegation, which was joined by International Paralympic Committee (IPC) CEO Xavier Gonzalez, shared with the local organisers and their partners advice on managing the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. This Seminar was held one week before the first visit to Tokyo by President Bach’s and Coordination Commission Chairman John Coates.