SPEECH OF GRAZIANO TOGNALA, IWSF SECRETARY GENERAL TO THE FEDERATIONS OF THE REGION EUROPE-AFRICA-MIDDLE EAST AT THE ANNUAL CONGRESS IN BORDEAUX JANUARY 2000
I would like to thank the Region EAME and its newly elected president Kuno for the invitation to attend this Congress.
I have just read you the message from our President, who spoke mainly about our Olympic quest. In fact, this is the project that always has the absolute priority for us.
After the extra-ordinary Congress of the IOC last December, I have send you a synthesis of the situation. As you know, the IOC is in the middle of a process of transformation. They want to bring the future Olympic Games back to a manageable dimension.
It is clear that sooner or later the IOC will have to answer the request of the Greek Olympic Committee and the Greek Organising Committee to add Waterski to the 2004 Olympics. Both Committees never miss an opportunity to repeat publicly and officially their request for one new sport: Waterski
WILL THE IOC HAVE THE COURAGE AND THE STRENGTH TO SAY NO TO THE GREEKS?
That is an extremely difficult question to answer. You understand that the challenge we still have to face during the coming months (at least until Sydney, September 2000), will be very hard. Andres, myself, Depy and her Federation, will all continue to commit ourselves with all our strength to achieving final success!
The IWSF has especially chosen the Greek Federation to host the Junior World Championships in 2000. From there we will immediately be able to launch our final challenge with Press Conferences, meetings and discussions which will give the members of Greek Politics and Sports the possibility of letting the entire world know about their Olympic choice and attract the greatest attention from the most senior members of the IOC.
As you see, we still have a long way to go and our finances are now completely dry! Once more I bid you to support our efforts with determination and courage. We still need your help!
We also have other important projects to develop: Firstly, we have the new Waterski Website, part WorldSport programme for 2000 and beyond.
I have provided you with a dossier and letters concerning this project. Our Media Officer, Desmond Burke-Kennedy will make a specific presentation later on.
The Worldsport project brings together more than 40 International Sports Federations. There are two goals: the first is to improve our presence and image world-wide. The second is to generate much needed revenue for Waterskiing. This project will have to involve all members of our family. It is an ambitious project, with a long term development planned, but starting now we will without doubt do all we can to obtain brilliant results over the next two to three years.
At the World Congress in Milan you received the second edition of the IWSF Directory which we update continuously with your help. By the end of the year we will produce the third edition.
You should recently have received the first edition of the IWSF Survey. Looking at many other International Sports Federations, the numbers are more than comforting, and also represent accurately the real picture of Waterskiing. We intend to repeat this survey again, tuning the data more finely, with a more focused question form to secure a better response from our Federations. Itís up to you to suggest to us specific questions which you consider important to ask so that we can improve our knowledge base.
At the request of the Bureau, the Executive Board has now officially declared Wakeboard an IWSF discipline. This decision was ratified by the IWSF World Congress in Milan. Today the IWSF is involved in organising and developing the discipline of Wakeboard throughout the World. We are in the process of organising the World Wakeboard Council and negotiations are on the way to stage theFirst IWSF Wakeboard World Championships this following Summer.
The IWSF for two years has tried to reach an agreement with the World Wakeboard Association, WWA, to work together but as of today no solution has been found. The IWSF will continue approaching the WWA but in the meantime we will dedicate all our efforts to develop this new discipline in conjunction with all our National Federations.
Today, I am very pleased to announce that the IWSF has finalised arrangements to hold the First IWSF Wakeboard World Championships in France this Summer. The competition will be in Montpellier on September 16 and 17 2000.
Also at the World Congress in Milan, the Executive Board presented the proposed guidelines for the formulation and preparation of the new IWSF Statutes. Many Presidents, especially from EAME, have stressed that the ultra-conservatism continues. Some even say it is a step backwards with respect to today. The EB has taken note of your remarks. With their agreement I have sent you the guidelines as well as a collection of the principal remarks voiced at the World Congress. President Andres Botero invited all Federations to give their comments for the final draft of the Statutes. This is an important opportunity that permits everyone to let their voice be heard and to give their own input.
The IOC has invested a lot in the World Games in recent years, conferring image and status to this important event which is second only to the Olympics and which is now the most important event for all recognised by non-Olympic Federations.
Frankly speaking in the past the World Games have always been overshadowed by their big sister. The World Games of 2001 will take place in Japan, in Akita during the month of August. The IWSF will be present on a splendid competition site with events in Tournament, Barefoot and Wakeboard. Television and Press are already involved and will broadcast not only nationally but world-wide the salient phases of the events. I know that some of the broadcasting contracts for Sydney 2000 include also the World Games.
The World Councils have already decided the selection criteria for the participating athletes. The interested Federations will soon receive the list with the names and all necessary information from the IWSF Headquarters. I must remind you that the IOC has contacted all the National Olympic Committees to cover with their flag all the national Federations and their participating athletes. This means the NOC should support you if you send athletes. Many NOCís have started to work already. If you have not yet heard from them, contact your own NOC and take all necessary steps.
See you next year in the Canary Islands!
Thank you for your attention,
IWSF Secretary General