The IOC President was in Bulgaria on Friday and Saturday to attend the FIG Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships in Sofia and the FISA World Rowing Championships in Plovdiv.
During the visit, the President had meetings with Boyko Borissov and Krasen Kralev, respectively the Prime Minister and Minister of Youth and Sport of the Republic of Bulgaria. The President praised the country’s ongoing efforts to support the development of sport and sports facilities over the last few decades, while the Bulgarian officials announced their interest in hosting the Winter Youth Olympic Games 2024. The two leaders agreed to engage in discussions, together with the NOC of Bulgaria, starting during the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires in October.
President Bach was also received by the President of the Bulgarian Republic, Rumen Radev. During the meeting at the Presidential Palace, President Bach praised the excellent partnership between the IOC and Bulgaria and congratulated the Head of State for setting an Olympic record by hosting three world championships in Olympic sports in Bulgaria within a week (rowing, rhythmic gymnastics and men’s volleyball). With regard to Bulgaria’s interest in hosting the Winter Youth Olympic Games 2024, President Bach expressed the IOC’s appreciation and its full confidence in Bulgaria’s potential to organise this event successfully. He then extended an invitation to President Radev for an official visit to the IOC in Lausanne.
Earlier, the President attended the FISA World Rowing Championships in Plovdiv, where he was welcomed by FISA President and IOC Member in France Jean-Christophe Rolland. He not only watched the competition, but also took the opportunity to have a discussion with a number of athlete representatives and to meet with national rowing federations to talk about rowing at the Olympic Games.
In Plovdiv, the President also met IOC Member in Canada Tricia Smith, IOC Member in Switzerland and IOC Executive Board member Denis Oswald, and IOC Member in the Czech Republic Jiří Kejval.
On Friday, President Bach was greeted by International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) President Morinari Watanabe in Sofia for the Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships. After watching the competitions, a meeting was held with around 80 competitors to discuss any matters of interest they wished to address.
President Bach was accompanied throughout his visit to Bulgaria by the President of the country’s National Olympic Committee, Olympic champion Stefka Kostadinova, whose high jump world record of 2.09 metres has stood since 1987. Full news story here.
Before travelling to Bulgaria, the President welcomed a delegation from the NOC of Afghanistan, led by its President, Hafizullah Wali Rahimi. Their discussions focused on the NOC’s various initiatives, such as actions for the promotion of women in sport; the project to help refugees that will be linked to the Olympic Refuge Foundation; and especially the assistance that the IOC will offer the NOC to support the victims of the recent attack on a wrestling centre in the Afghan capital, Kabul (see statement from the IOC President here). The NOC President invited the IOC President to pay a visit to the country.
President Bach met a delegation from the Iranian NOC led by its President, Syed Reza Salehi Amiri. Their discussions covered several topics such as the participation of women in sport as either athletes or spectators, the Olympic values, Olympic education projects in the country during Olympic Week, and the Olympic Museum project. The NOC invited the IOC President to visit the country.
A meeting was also held with Alejandro Blanco, President of the Spanish NOC. They discussed several Olympic matters as well as the forthcoming General Assembly of the European Olympic Committees, which will be held in November in the Spanish city of Marbella.
IOC Executive Board member Kirsty Coventry has been appointed Minister of Youth, Sport, Art and Recreation by the President of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa.
On 7 September, the IOC Executive Board made the decision to propose Senegal as host for the 4th Summer Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in 2022. The host will be elected by the IOC Session in Buenos Aires. This proposal is based on the report of the IOC Evaluation Commission, chaired by IOC Vice-President Uğur Erdener. Full press release here.
During the ninth Project Review, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee presented significant progress towards hosting inclusive Olympic Games. This includes the date for the lighting of the Olympic flame, the launch of volunteer applications and confirmation of the aquatics competition schedule. “Tokyo 2020’s Olympic Games plan is really starting to take shape,” said IOC Coordination Commission Chair for Tokyo 2020 John Coates. “We are now at a point where we are working with the Organising Committee on planning on an item-by-item basis. This Project Review was an opportunity to give guidance on any subjects that needed clarification.” Full press release here.
International sportS FEDERATIONS
The World Rowing Federation (FISA) held its 2018 Ordinary Congress on 17 September, following the 2018 World Rowing Championships in Plovdiv (Bulgaria). FISA President Jean-Christophe Rolland opened the Congress and presented his report to the delegates, referencing the visit of IOC President to the Championships in Plovdiv and the important process ahead for FISA regarding decisions to be taken on the 2024 Olympic programme. New FISA Council members were also elected at the Congress. Full details here.
The second annual World Fencing Day, 8 September 2018, was celebrated worldwide, bringing the fun, thrill and experience of the sport of fencing to people of all ages, skills and athletic abilities. With International Fencing Federation (FIE) member organisations alongside athletes and coaches, fencing is actively reaching communities and individuals everywhere. More than 6,500 social media tags about World Fencing Day marked a significant increase in digital participation globally and the FIE’s impact with its campaign to promote fencing as a “Sport for All”, and thousands of people worldwide were able to try fencing, like in Lithuania (photo). More info .
More than 350 gymnasts from 61 nations competed at the FIG (International Gymnastics Federation) Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships, which took place from 10 to 16 September in Sofia (Bulgaria), in the presence of FIG President Morinari Watanabe and the IOC President. Three Olympic spots were at stake in the Group competition, in which 36 countries took part. The competition in Sofia was the first for any FIG discipline to allow gymnasts to qualify directly for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, as the medal-winning nations in the Group All-around competition earned automatic places for Tokyo 2020. Other nation will have additional chances to qualify at competitions in 2019 and 2020. More info here.
The International Testing Agency (ITA) and the International Judo Federation (IJF) have signed a partnership agreement whereby the ITA will design and implement a global anti-doping programme for the sport of judo. Under this partnership, which begins immediately and will run until the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the ITA will deliver expert anti-doping services covering key areas of an anti-doping programme. This partnership demonstrates the IJF’s leadership, by embracing a new independent model to fight against doping. The IJF joins 33 IFs and Major Event Organisers that have already chosen to partner with the ITA. More info here.
An IWF (International Weightlifting Federation) Development Programme Seminar intended for coaches, referees and administrators was held in Serbia last month. Topics included correct weightlifting technique, IWF technical rules and regulations, and the Qualification System for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Practical and theoretical lessons were conducted in three cities across the country, Belgrade, Bac and Subotica, with a total of more than 70 participants. More info here.
The International Swimming Federation (FINA) recently opened the bidding procedure for the 2025 and 2027 editions of the FINA World Championships and FINA World Masters Championships. Interested National Federations and Cities should notify FINA of their intention to be involved in the bid(s) by no later than 26 November 2018. On 25 January 2019, FINA will organise a meeting in Lausanne with these potential interested candidates, while formal bids have to be received by FINA by no later than 25 April 2019. FINA will decide on the hosts for these Championships on 11 July 2019, on the occasion of its Bureau meeting in Gwangju (Korea). The Korean city is the host of the 2019 edition of the FINA World Championships and FINA World Masters Championships. More info at www.fina.org.
On 16 September, Fernando Aguerre was re-elected as President of the International Surfing Association (ISA) at the ISA Annual General Meeting (AGM) during the 2018 UR ISA World Surfing Games in Tahara (Japan). This is his ninth term as President since being elected in 1994. Barbara Kendall and Casper Steinfath were also re-elected as ISA Vice-Presidents. Full details here.
During its meeting on the occasion of the 52nd ISSF World Championships in Changwon (Republic of Korea), the ISSF (International Shooting Sports Federation) Executive Committee received the official vote count for the election of the members of the ISSF Athletes’ Committee and appointed additional members and the Athlete’s Committee Chair. The USA's six-time Olympic medallist Kimberly Rhode is the new Chair of the ISSF Athletes’ Committee. The Athletes’ Committee election was held during the World Championships, from 2 to 11 September. Full details here.
The International Triathlon Union (ITU), the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and the Japanese Triathlon Union announced the dates for the 2019 Test Event for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 – World Olympic Qualification Event. Running from August 15 to 18, it will incorporate Elite male and female races, Mixed Relay and Paratriathlon races. All of the races will take place in the Odaiba Marine Park, the very same venue and courses where the Olympic competition will be held almost exactly one year later. More info here.
The International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) has announced that Italian President Sergio Mattarella and the President of Bulgaria, Rumen Radev, joined thousands of fans to watch their respective nations begin the 2018 FIVB Men’s Volleyball World Championship. Jointly hosted by Italy and Bulgaria, the Championship’s opening matches involving both home teams drew capacity crowds as well as high-ranking officials. Alongside FIVB President Ary S. Graça F°, Italian NOC President Giovanni Malagò, Italian Volleyball Federation President Pietro Bruno Cattaneo and many more national and international dignitaries, President Mattarella joined the 11,170-strong partisan crowd at the Foro Italico in Rome. In Varna, President Radev was joined by his Minister for Sport, Krasen Kralev, in the Palace of Culture and Sport. Full details here.
NATIONAL Olympic COMMITTEES
The Albanian NOC held a meeting with athletes, coaches and presidents/secretaries general of the respective sports federations, in the framework of preparations for the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018. During this meeting, in the presence of NOC President Viron Bezhani, Vice-President Vojo Malo and Secretary General Stavri Bello, the members of the Albanian Youth Olympic Team signed the contract of participation in the sporting event. The participants also received other organisational details. More info at www.nocalbania.org.al.
On the occasion of World Clean-up Day on 15 September, the Algerian NOC, in collaboration with the “Let’s do it Algeria” association, organised an environmental clean-up campaign on Ain Taya beach. The NOC created a programme which included sports (rowing) and environmental activities. Run in collaboration with the commune of Ain Taya, the Algerian Youth Department, the Civil Protection Department and the volunteer movement, this event attracted almost 600 participants, including members of the NOC Executive Committee and several Olympic and sports personalities. More info on www.coa.dz.
The Bahrain Olympic Academy of the Bahrain Olympic Committee (BOC) recently organised two sports-related conventions. On 9 and 10 September, the Sport Convention focused on two subjects: anti-doping and the road to professionalism in sport. BOC’s Sports Medicine Centre supervised the seminar, held in the framework of the Olympic Solidarity programmes. The second event, the International Physical Literacy Convention (IPLC), was held simultaneously with the slogan “Active Nation, Healthy Population”. It featured six themes: Sport for Life - the Journey of excellence and health; the Four Pillars of Physical Literacy; Physical Literacy in Communities; Physical Literacy as a Learning Construct; Improving the Quality of Sport and Developing Physical Literacy; and Building Quality. More info at www.boc.bh.
Around 50 Minsk preliminary and secondary schools students were invited to the headquarters of the NOC of Belarus for a lesson from four-time Games biathlon champion Darya Domracheva, Beijing 2008 canoeing champion Aliaksandr Bahdanovich, Sochi 2014 freestyle aerials champion Anton Kushnir and Belarus’ top race walker Nastassia Yatsevich. During this Olympic lesson, the young guests – winners and medallists of various international competitions, asked their senior colleagues some topical questions such as life hacks to tackle stress, whether they needed days off during periods of hard training, and the best ways to relax. In order to motivate the students throughout the year, the NOC handed out special Olympic-themed assignment books. The books contain relevant information about the Olympic Movement in Belarus and its champions. More info at www.noc.by.
A San Antonio de Murcia University (UCAM) delegation was at the Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) headquarters recently to present the new scholarship-holding athletes who have joined its sports club. Around 40 athletes, the new arrivals and others there to support their new colleagues, were there for the presentation. Olympic, world and European medallists posed together for a memorable souvenir photo. COE President Alejandro Blanco; the Secretary of State for Sport, José Rienda; and the UCAM President, José Luis Mendoza, were present to welcome the newcomers. More info here.
On 5 September in Tel Aviv, the Olympic Committee of Israel held the 46th annual ceremony in memory of the 11 athletes, coaches and referees who were killed during the Olympic Games Munich 1972. Attending the ceremony were the Minister of Culture and Sport, Miri Regev; Israel Olympic Committee President Igal Carmi and CEO Gilad Lustig; the German cultural attaché; representatives of the Israeli government and Tel-Aviv Municipality; Munich athletes and their families; families of the 11 victims with their grandchildren and great-grandchildren; the Olympic delegation to the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 and hundreds of other people. The athlete Esther Rot Shahamorov and the swimmer Shlomit Nir Tor, from the 1972 Israeli delegation, laid a wreath at the monument in memory of the 11 victims (photo above). More info at www.olympicsil.co.il.
After winning the 2015 IOC Women in Sport World award, the New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) invested its “winnings’ in a new project – a leadership programme for retired female Olympians. A group of female Olympians recently graduated from this initiative, which is designed to help athletes transition from sports performance to sports leadership. The New Zealand Women's Sports Leadership Academy (WSLA NZ) was launched in 2017, with 18 Olympians involved in the first edition of the 18-month programme. Alongside the opportunity to develop their leadership competencies over four workshops, the Academy also links the participants into a global network of female leaders in sport. The presentations covered issues relating to women in sport, including coaching, governance, high performance, and visibility of women in sport. The programme will be run again in 2019. Full details here.
More than 16,000 children celebrated Olympic Day in Sweden this year. Arranged by the Swedish Olympic Committee, Olympians and local sports clubs invited kids to try out their sports at 10 Olympic Days in different parts of the country. The Olympic Day tour started in February during the Olympic Games. During two days in Spånga, a suburb of Stockholm, pupils at the local schools were able to try 10 different sports, in the presence of Olympic figure skater Joshi Helgesson. After two days in Gothenburg and three days on the beaches of Ribban in Malmö, the tour wrapped up with two days and 15 Olympic sports in Stockholm, at the Kungsträdgården park in August. This was the seventh year in a row that Olympic Day was celebrated in the Swedish capital. More info at www.sok.se.
ORGANISING COMMITTEES FOR THE Olympic GAMES
The World Press Briefing for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 brought together the world’s main media and press agencies in the Japanese capital, to better understand the media operations during the Games. At the event, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee announced innovative technology infrastructure for the Olympic and Paralympic Games that they are calling the “Press Network”. This access to the Press Network will be provided by Tokyo 2020 free of charge for all accredited press representatives, a first for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Press Network will be supported by robust Wi-Fi in all press areas in all venues, also free of charge. Full press release here.