From 29 March to 2 April, IOC President Thomas Bach was travelling around the Persian Gulf.
The IOC delegation with the Emir of Kuwait
During his first stop, in Kuwait, President Bach was received by the Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. During their meeting in the Bayan Palace in Kuwait City, the two leaders, accompanied by Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, discussed various sports-related issues. The Emir emphasized the power of sport to "educate and bring people together and to build bridges." President Bach, who was accompanied by IOC Vice-President Nawal El Moutawakel and IOC member the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, congratulated the Emir and told him that sport in the country "was in good hands."
On the same day, the IOC President took part in a joint press conference at the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) headquarters with IOC member, OCA President and Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah. On the following day, 31 March, he attended a meeting of the Olympic Solidarity Commission and the 63rd ANOC Executive Council meeting.
President Bach with the Emir of Qatar
From Kuwait, President Bach travelled to Qatar, where he was received by the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, who is also an IOC member and President of the NOC. During this meeting at the Royal Palace in Doha, at which Vice-President Nawal El Moutawakel was also present, the two men discussed the vital role sport plays in society and the Olympic Agenda 2020. President Bach appreciated the many initiatives of Qatar Olympic Committee in particular Olympic School Day combining sport and education and the National Sports Day as well as the state-of-the-art Anti-Doping laboratory. The Emir outlined various measures of improvements regarding the labour laws in his country.
The President’s programme also featured several meetings with Qatari sports leaders, including NOC Secretary General Sheikh Saoud Bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, the NOC Executive Committee members and national sports federation presidents, plus a visit to the Qatar Olympic Academy building and the Anti-Doping laboratory.
President Bach with Prince Abdulaziz
On 2 April, President Bach ended his Persian Gulf trip with an informal visit to Saudi Arabia. There, the President met IOC member and NOC President Prince Nawaf Faisal Fahd Bin Abdulaziz. The two men discussed various issues relating to the future development of sport and presented a strategy for sports development in the Kingdom until the year 2020. President Bach promised full support for the plan, which also included proposals to increase women’s participation in the Olympic Games and in sport in general.
Upon his return to Lausanne, President Bach received Armando Mariotta, the President of the International Ski Mountaineering Federation (ISMF).
Nat Indrapana has received an honorary doctorate in sports science from Burapha University, one of Thailand’s biggest universities, in recognition of his contribution and commitment to promoting physical education and sport among young people. He was awarded the doctorate by Princess Mahachakri Sirinthorn, who was presiding over the ceremony on behalf of the King of Thailand.
As the IOC’s Permanent Observer at the United Nations, on 4 April Mario Pescante took part in a round table discussion on the values and use of sport as a vector of social change. Organised in Geneva by the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP), in collaboration with the Group of Friends of Sport for Development and Peace, this two-day discussion took place two days before the celebration of the first International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (see also under “Other News” below).
On 29 March, Nawal El Moutawakel was presented with the insignia of the Egyptian Sport and Youth Ministry by Minister Khaled Abdelaziz, for her example to other women and her exceptional action in the field of sport. At the award ceremony in Cairo, Nawal El Moutawakel talked about her career as a champion, sports administrator and IOC member.
International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Philip Craven has been made an Officer of the Legion of Honour by French President François Hollande, in recognition of his work for the IPC, which he has led since 2001; his role as an IOC member; and his contribution to the success of the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. He was presented with this distinction by the Grand Chancellor of the Legion of Honour, Jean-Louis Georgelin, at a ceremony at the French embassy in London on 28 March.
On 1 April, the IOC President announced the composition of the IOC commissions for 2014, with an increase in female members (+23 per cent) and a much broader geographical representation. There will now be two more commissions chaired by women and 22 more positions held by women in 2014 than in 2013 (female representation from Africa increased by 50 per cent), and a significant overall increase in the representation of members from Africa and Oceania.
On 4 April, President Bach announced the composition of the Boards of Olympic Broadcasting Services SA (OBS) and the Olympic Museum Foundation.
The IOC Coordination Commission for the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing has just paid its fifth and final visit to the city, and believes that Nanjing is ready to welcome the world’s best young athletes. In the words of Commission Chair Alexander Popov, “There is a real buzz here in Nanjing that the Youth Olympic Games are coming soon. The team here is so passionate about creating the ultimate experience not only for the athletes, but also for young people from across China and overseas.”
(from left to right) Gilbert Felli, Alex Gilady, John Coates, Yoshiro Mori, Toshiro Muto and Tsunekazu Takeda.
From 2 to 4 April, the Executive of the IOC Coordination Commission for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games made its first official visit to the Japanese capital. Led by Commission Chair John Coates, the IOC delegation included Vice-Chair Alex Gilady, Olympic Games Executive Director Gilbert Felli and Deputy Olympic Games Executive Director Christophe Dubi. During this first Project Review, the IOC delegation met Minister in charge of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games and Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Hakubun Shimomura, Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe, as well as the members of the new Tokyo 2020 Executive Board, including President Yoshiro Mori, Director General and CEO Toshiro Muto and Vice-President Tsunekazu Takeda, who is also an IOC member. At the end of the visit, John Coates said: “We have been very impressed with what we have seen this week during our visit. The current level of planning; the venue layout; the involvement and integration of the Government authorities at all levels; and the experience and diversity of the new Executive Board all leave us confident in Tokyo’s ability to deliver great Games for the athletes in 2020.”
The Olympic Solidarity Commission, which is chaired by Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, met in Kuwait City on 31 March.
The IOC has just launched a new online educational platform for athletes, known as the IOC Athlete MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). Developed in collaboration with a number of IOC commissions, including the Athletes’ and Entourage commissions, this platform offers free, engaging, educational content to a worldwide athlete audience.
On Sunday 6 April, the IOC will be celebrating the first UN International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. Creating a historical link to the first modern Olympic Games on 6 April 1896, this new annual event is an occasion to celebrate and promote sport as an innovative and effective tool for positive societal and individual change across the world. It also provides a notable platform to call for action, and advocate greater investment in sport, recreational and sports infrastructure, as well as quality physical education.
INTERNATIONAL SPORTS FEDERATIONS
In the framework of its new “Athletics Better World” (ABW) project, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) will be supporting the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. ABW is a new programme that will harness the extraordinary commitment and energy of the worldwide athletics family to inspire lasting change, and will be launched officially by IAAF President Lamine Diack on 8 April at SportAccord in Belek (Turkey). Details on www.iaaf.org.
The World Rowing Federation (FISA) has received approval from the IOC and the IPC for rowing’s new qualification systems for the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. To increase female participation and achieve greater universality, FISA has changed the number of boats allocated in each of the 14 Olympic boat classes, reducing the number of boats in some of the men’s events. Full details on www.worldrowing.com.
The official mascots of the 16th FINA World Championships 2015 in Kazan (Russian Federation) were unveiled on 27 March in the capital of Tatarstan by FINA President Julio C. Maglione (second from right in photo), FINA Executive Director Cornel Marculescu (far left) and Director General of the Kazan 2015 Organising Committee Azat Kadyrov (third from right in photo). The mascots are two snow leopards, Itil (boy) and Alsu (girl). The 16th World Championships will be held from 24 July to 9 August 2015. Details on www.fina.org.
1 April marked the International Triathlon Union (ITU)’s 25th anniversary, and a wide variety of events and projects will be taking place this year at ITU events worldwide to mark the occasion. Details on www.triathlon.org and the ITU’s Facebook page and Twitter accounts.
The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) has appointed International Race Officer John Craig to the new position of Head of the ISAF Sailing World Cup. This appointment comes as the ISAF confirms its plans for the Sailing World Cup, the annual circuit of Olympic sailing for elite and professional sailors. Details on www.isaf.org.
Canada’s Randy Ferbey, Switzerland’s Patrick Huerlimann and Norway’s Eigil Ramsfjell are to be inducted in to the World Curling Hall of Fame. The World Curling Federation (WCF) made this announcement at an on-ice ceremony at the World Men’s Curling Championship 2014 being held in Beijing (People’s Republic of China). Ferbey is a four-time world champion, while Huerlimann won a gold medal at the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano and was WCF Vice-President from 2010 to 2012. Ramsfjell, who won a bronze medal in Nagano, is the co-holder of the record for winning the most World Men’s Curling Championship medals, which stands at nine. Details on www.worldcurling.org.
The International Ski Federation (FIS) tells us that the most successful female Alpine ski racer in history, Austria’s Annemarie Moser-Proell was inducted into the International Ski Racing Hall of Fame as the 2014 Legend of Honour at a ceremony in Vail (USA) on 22 March. During the course of her 12-year career, she amassed a record 62 individual victories, winning six FIS World Championship medals, three of them gold, along with a trio of Olympic medals. Details on www.fis-ski.com.
NATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEES
Thirty young adults from Africa and the Middle East took part in the 9th Youth Leadership Camp in the German village of Kienbaum near Berlin. The Camp, placed under the auspices of the UN Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace, Wilfried Lemke (pictured with the young participants), is part of the Youth Leadership Programme by the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace and the NGO Right To Play. This ninth edition was organised in cooperation with the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the German NOC and the German Society for International Cooperation, a federal enterprise to support the German government in achieving its objectives in the field of international cooperation for sustainable development. The aim was to provide the participants with leadership and social skills that will contribute to personal development and help to initiate positive social change in their home countries. Details on www.dosb.de.
In collaboration with the United Nations Office in Bahrain, the Bahrain NOC has celebrated the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (see photo above). The ceremony took place on 30 March, as Bahrain will be hosting a Formula 1 Grand Prix race from 4 to 6 April. Children could take part in face drawing and painting activities. A photo exhibition organised by the NOC’s Communications Department illustrated the humanitarian activities undertaken by the national sports movement in its culture for peace and development promotional activities.
On 31 March, the Secretary General of the Belgian NOC, Guido De Bondt retired after 38 years of service within the NOC. Now aged 65, De Bondt began his NOC career in 1976, and became Secretary General in 1992. He is currently also a member of the European Olympic Committees (EOC)’s Coordination Commission for the first European Games in 2015. Guido De Bondt already holds the IOC’s Olympic Order. Details on www.olympic.be.
At the end of March, the Costa Rican NOC celebrated the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. Some 500 children from the Juan Flores de Ipis de Guadalupe School gathered at the NOC headquarters to try out various sports under the guidance of well-known athletes such as fencer Dirley Yepes. The programme included boxing, taekwondo, rugby, football, fencing, karate, grass kayaking, running and jumping. There was also a play entitled “The origins of the Olympic Games”, in which members of the NOC staff played the parts of characters from Ancient Greece. Details on www.concrc.org.
As part of its Olympic education programme, the Lithuanian NOC, in collaboration with the national Olympic academy, organised a video competition on the Winter Games in Sochi. Children from all over the country sent in videos illustrating their interpretation of the Olympic values, winter sports and the Olympic Games. A commission composed of Olympic medallists, sports journalists and visual arts experts picked the eight best videos, and the young winners (see photo above, with the commission members) received their prizes at the NOC headquarters on 25 March. Details on www.ltok.lt.
At a ceremony held at Olympic House in Ulaanbaatar, the Mongolian NOC President, D. Zagdsuren (right of photo), congratulated and presented the IOC diploma to Nanjing Youth Olympic Games Young Ambassador G. Tugsbayar (left of photo). A 19-year-old student, G. Tugsbayar is the first Young Ambassador in the history of Mongolian sport. Among other things, he practises weightlifting and sports dance.
More than 100 physical education teachers from the Education Ministry in Lima and other towns around the country (pictured above) took part in the 9th seminar on infant and primary level mobility organised by the Peruvian Olympic Academy and the Peruvian NOC. The topics covered include the Olympic values, psychopedagogical practice in motor learning, and bodily expression and psychomotor learning. Details on www.coperu.org.
ORGANISING COMMITTEES FOR THE OLYMPIC GAMES
Last week, the Organising Committee for the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games (POCOG) held a workshop inviting those who took part in the IOC Observer Programme at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games to share their experience and learnings from these Games. More than 250 including staff from the PyeongChang 2018 Organising Committee, Ministry and city officials, as well as industry experts, gathered to exchange views on a variety of topics and issues ranging from Games operations to accommodation, transport, culture, marketing, technology and accessibility. Details on www.pyeongchang2018.org.
YOUTH OLYMPIC GAMES ORGANISING COMMITTEES
In all, 104 Young Ambassadors (YAs) took part in a seminar from 25 to 28 March in Nanjing, the city hosting the 2014 Youth Olympic Games (YOG). During the seminar, where the YAs were prepared for their role during the Games, they visited the City Wall and attended cooking and relaxation classes at the Nanjing Secondary Vocational School of Tourism and Nutrition. They also approved the Culture and Education Programme for these Games. Details on www.nanjing2014.org.
The International World Games Association (IWGA) has awarded prizes to the 2013 “Athlete of the Year” and “Team of the Year”. Ryan Farrell (right of photo), a member of the US flying disc team which won a gold medal at the 2013 World Games in Cali (Colombia), received the glass trophy from IWGA President Ron Froehlich, (left of photo), at the IWGA headquarters in Colorado Springs (USA). Germany’s Marcel Hassemeier, winner of four gold medals and a silver medal at the Life Saving competitions in Cali, was picked as Athlete of the Year 2013. The IWGA CEO presented him with his trophy at a Board meeting of the German Life Saving Federation in Bad Nenndorf (Germany). Details on www.theworldgames.com.