Highlights of the week


On 12 December in Madrid (Spain), IOC President Jacques Rogge took part in the Spanish NOC’s centennial gala celebrations in the presence of the Prince of Asturias. The IOC President received a decoration from the NOC, presented to him by its President, Alejandro Blanco. (See also “NOCs”).  


Nawal El Moutawakel has received an honorary doctorate from Inha University in Seoul (Korea). She also took part in a talk organised by the International Sport Cooperation Centre of Korea. 

Carlos Arthur Nuzman, who is also President of the Organising Committee of the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games (Rio 2016), has received the “Excellence Guirlande d’Honneur” Prize of the International Sports Movies & TV Federation,  (FICTS). The award was presented to him by FICTS President Franco Ascani at the opening ceremony of the 30th Milan International FICTS Festival (Italy). 


Alongside the finals of the Junior World Championships in Erevan (Armenia), the International Boxing Association (AIBA) held its annual awards ceremony. Hosted by Ching-Kuo Wu, AIBA President and IOC Executive Board member, this ceremony recognised the best in various categories such as elite athlete, referee-judge, coach and technical official. In addition, Irish boxer Katie Taylor has been named AIBA Women’s Boxing Ambassador. Detailed info at www.aiba.org

Naomi Valenzo, Vice-President of the Mexican Gymnastics Federation and member of the Artistic Gymnastics Technical Committee of the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG), has received the 2012 National Sports Award, which was presented by new Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, in recognition of her dedication to Mexican and international gymnastics. Info at www.fig-gymnastics.com

The International Swimming Federation (FINA)’s Bureau recently met in Istanbul (Turkey) under the chairmanship of IOC member Julio C. Maglione. Several decisions were made, including awarding the men’s 2014 Water Polo World Cup to Almaty (Kazakhstan), reallocating the 4th Junior World Swimming Championships in 2013 to Dubai (United Arab Emirates), and awarding the 13th World (25m) Swimming Championships in 2016 to Windsor (Ontario, Canada). Press release at www.fina-org.  

The International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM) has announced the death of Willie Grut, Olympic champion and former Secretary General of the IF, at the age of 98. Grut won the gold medal at the London 1948 Games before devoting himself to the administration of his sport. A manager of the Swedish team until 1960, he was the UIPM’s Secretary General from 1960 to 1984. Info at www.pentathlon.org

New Zealand fly-half Dan Carter has been named Player of the Year by the International Rugby Board (IRB). It is the second time that the All Black has won the award, having done so in 2005. Info at www.irb.com

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has announced that Serbia’s Novak Djokovic and the USA’s Serena Williams are the 2012 ITF World Champions. Bob and Mike Bryan (USA) are the men’s doubles champions, while Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci (Italy) are the women’s doubles champions. Canada’s Filip Peliwo and the USA’s Taylor Townsend took the junior titles. The Netherlands’ Esther Vergeer and France’s Stephane Houdet won the wheelchair tennis category. The awards will be presented at the Champions Dinner on 4 June 2013 during the Roland Garros tournament in Paris (France). Detailed info at www.itftennis.com.


Albanian NOC President Ela Tase and the NOC’s Executive Committee members recently received Prince Nawaf Faisal Fahd Abdulaziz, Saudi Arabian NOC President and an IOC member.  The focus of the meeting was on strengthening and enhancing the collaboration between the two NOCs through common qualification and training projects for coaches and athletes. Meetings with the President of the Republic of Albania, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Tourism, Culture, Youth and Sport were also on the programme of this visit. Info at www.nocalbania.org.al

At its recent General Assembly held in Stuttgart, the German NOC, whose President is IOC Executive Board member Thomas Bach, announced that its memberships had increased to 27.7 million - an increase of nearly 100,000 in 2012 and of 900,000 over 10 years. The NOC has 98 member organisations with over 91,000 sports clubs. Former German President Horst Köhler also spoke during the Assembly. The NOC’s mascot, Trimmy, was also present on this occasion. Info at www.dosb.de

The Austrian NOC General Assembly re-elected Karl Stoss as NOC President. The new Executive Board will be in place until 2016, after the Rio Games. Info at www.olympia.at

Belgian two-time Olympic medallist André Nelis died on 8 December at the age of 77. He took part in three editions of the Olympic Games in sailing (Finn category). He won the silver medal at the Games in Melbourne in 1956 then a bronze at the Rome 1960 Games. In Tokyo in 1964, he finished in 10th place. Nelis was world champion in both 1956 and 1961. Info at www.olympic.be

The Brazilian NOC has informed us that the 2012 edition of the School Games brought together a record 4,015 participants aged 15 to 17. These Games were held between 25 November and 8 December in Cuiabá, the capital of the State of Mato Grosso, and featured 13 sports.  Guest delegation Great Britain sent 20 athletes from three sports. Also present were international observers representing NOCs and sports entities from 14 countries. This observer programme was supported by Olympic Solidarity. Educational and cultural activities, meetings with Olympic athletes and the call for the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in 2013 were also on the programme. Info at www.cob.org.br.

The Chinese NOC and the Chinese Athletics Association (CAA) organised a ceremony in Beijing to present the London Olympic bronze medal to shot putter Gong Lijiao. The medal was presented by IOC member Li Lingwei. Over 300 people attended this ceremony, including NOC Vice-President and CAA President Duan Shijie, and International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Honorary Life Vice-President Lou Dapeng. Info at www.olympic.cn

On 12 December, the secretariat of Culture, Leisure and Sport of Bogotá and the Colombian NOC organised the 7th and latest forum on the theme “Sport and Displaced People”. The programme included understanding the origins, history and conditions of displaced people. Info at www.coc.org.co

On 12 December in Madrid, the Spanish NOC celebrates its centenary at a gala. Some 130 athletes representing all  the Olympic medallist in Spanish sport were thus honoured by almost 800 people, including the Prince of Asturias, President Rogge, and the Minister for Education, Culture and Sport, José Ignacio Wert. Detailed info at www.coe.es

Risto Nieminen is the new President of the Finnish NOC. The Executive Committee members were elected for the period 2013-2016. Info at www.noc.fi

Olympic bronze medallist and double world champion rower Sarah Winckless has been re-elected as Chair of the Athletes’ Commission of the British NOC (BOA). The Commission is made up of a Chair and 13 members. Info at www.olympics.org.uk

Lithuanian NOC Vice-President Romualdas Bakutis and International Relations Director Vaida Masalskyte met European Softball Federation President Andre van Overbeek, and Lithuanian Baseball Federation President Vidmantas Vasiliauskas at the NOC headquarters. The meeting focused on the development of softball and baseball in Europe. Andre van Overbeek was awarded the NOC’s Plate. Info at www.ltok.lt

In the past few weeks in Ulaanbaatar, the Mongolian NOC organised a seminar for secretaries general of national sports federations on project management and development. This seminar was coordinated by the Mongolian Academy of Management and brought together 11 federation executives. It was part of the national sports federations development programme set up by the NOC. Info at www.olympic.mn

Several technical courses were organised in November under the auspices of the Peruvian NOC, thanks to the support of Olympic Solidarity. Twenty basketball coaches followed a (level 1) technical course for national coaches. For wrestling, some 30 national coaches also came together for a level 1 course. Finally, a course for national triathlon coaches brought together 30 coaches. Info at www.coperu.org

The Venezuelan NOC has informed us that the Executive Office of the national athletics federation has selected the best athletes, coaches, organisation and manager of 2012. This year, the federation saw its athletes win 138 medals at international events (62 gold, 41 silver and 35 bronze). The prizes will be presented in February at the associations’ assembly. 

SOCHI 2014

The Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi (Sochi 2014), along with the Russian Ministry for Foreign Affairs, recently held its first press conference for representatives of diplomatic missions accredited in Moscow. The conference brought together representatives of over 90 embassies.

In addition, two test events were organised recently in Sochi. The International Ice Skating Union (ISU)’s Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final was held at the Iceberg Skating Palace, while the International Skiing Federation (FIS)’s World Cup stages in ski jumping was held at the “RusSki Gorki” Jumping Centre. Press release at www.sochi2014.com


At the 41st General Assembly of the Olympic European Committees (EOC) held at the headquarters of the Italian NOC (CONI) in Rome, 49 NOCs approved the proposal to organise European Games in Baku in 2015. The precise dates of this first edition, with about 15 sports on the programme, are to be decided. Another highlight of the Assembly was the confirmation of Györ (Hungary) and Sarajevo (Bosnia-Herzegovina) as hosts of the 2017 summer and winter editions of the European Youth Olympic Festival. Young Lithuanian swimmer Ruta Meilutyte was named Young European Athlete of the Year, and thus received the Piotr Nurowski Prize.

EOC President and IOC Executive Board member Patrick Hickey opened this assembly, which President Rogge was unable to attend owing to adverse weather conditions. At an event organised at the Olympic Stadium by CONI and EOC Secretary General Raffaele Pagnozzi, Sebastian Coe was awarded the EOC Order of Merit, its highest distinction. The European Olympic Laurel awards were presented to Zvi Varshaviak (Israel), Diοnyssis S. Gangas (Greece), Dana Zatapkova (Czech Republic) and Zeko Minev (Bulgaria). Info at www.eurolympic.org

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC)’s Athletics Forum in Frankfurt (Germany) brought together representatives of “IPC Athletics”, National Paralympic Committees and International Organisations of Sports for the Disabled (IOSD). The agenda included progress and future developments in athletics, classification systems, the Paralympic athletics programme for 2016, and a presentation on the IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon (France) in 2013. Info at www.paralympic.org.

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