Climate change, solidarity, athletes and sports development were on the agenda as IOC President Thomas Bach visited NOCs in Oceania.
President Bach headed for Fiji on Monday 2 May to take part in the celebrations marking 40 years of the Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC) and to open their headquarters. The first stop was Nadi for the ONOC General Assembly, where the President praised the solidarity of the Oceania NOCs. “Your solidarity has set a new benchmark amongst the NOCs,” said President Bach, “with the challenges you had to face to keep sport alive and to allow the athletes to continue to train under harsh restrictions. You had to prepare your athletes for the Olympic Games in Tokyo, to get them there, and overcome so many obstacles. For this, I can only express my deep heartfelt thanks and admiration,” he added.
Accompanied by IOC Executive Board member and ONOC President Robin Mitchell throughout his time in Fiji, the next day he headed to Suva, where he met the Fijian President, Ratu Wiliame Katonivere, and later the Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama (photo). With both, he discussed climate change, sports development in the region and the great success of Fijian rugby. On climate change, President Bach informed them of the IOC’s decision to be climate positive by 2024, and for the Olympic Games to achieve the same level by 2030. He was also able to inform them about the decision by NOCs from Oceania to join the United Nations’ “Sport for Climate Action Framework”, which now numbers more than 300 sports organisations around the world.
Whilst in Suva, the IOC President joined Mitchell for the inauguration of the new ONOC headquarters, before trying out cricket and rugby with young people from the capital.
In the evening, there was a full celebration of the 40 years of ONOC, with a panel including the IOC President, Robin Mitchell and IOC Honorary Member Richard Kevan Gosper.
The next day, the IOC President moved on to Tonga, visiting the Pacific nation to show solidarity, following the volcanic eruption and tsunami that hit the island in January causing extensive damage.
President Bach was guest of honour at the NOC headquarters, where aid to help rebuild sporting infrastructure and provide new equipment destroyed in the disaster was discussed. The President also met Olympians and watched some sports demonstrations. He also tried his table tennis skills against Melekaufusi Fungavai, the island’s leading female player, 2021 national under 15 and under 19 girls’ singles winner (read more here on www.ittf.com).
Later, at the Prime Minister’s office, he told Prime Minister Siaosi Sovaleni about the solidarity the IOC is offering. “We are here to show our solidarity with Tonga and the people of Tonga,” he told him. “We want to see first-hand where we can help,” he added. Projects already under discussion include replacing beach volleyball equipment lost when it was washed away in the tsunami, and the renovation of an open-water swimming facility. At the same time, President Bach informed the Prime Minister about the decision as part of Olympic Agenda 2020 that the IOC would be climate positive by 2024, and the Olympic Games by 2030.
The IOC President also talked about the difficult journey back from the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 undertaken by the Olympic team, many of whom did not return to the island for four months, with one athlete who returned only two weeks ago. This was a story often shared by athletes from all over the region. “This effort, and the solidarity between NOCs, shows great dedication to the Olympic Games and to the Olympic values,” said President Bach.
Arriving in the Cook Islands the next day, President was met by the NOC President, Hugh Graham. President Bach also met the Prime Minister of the island nation, Mark Brown, where they discussed sports development on the islands and the positive impact of the Cook Islands Games to bring the islanders together at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. They also discussed the IOC’s climate-positive proposals for the organisation by 2024, and for the Olympic Games by 2030. Earlier, he met the Governor General, Tom Marsters.
A tour of sports facilities and a meeting with Cook Islands athletes followed. The President visited the National Stadium and Arena and the newly refurbished NOC headquarters, which includes a small Olympic museum. The IOC has agreed to help fund an Olympic High Performance Centre and provide equipment. Later, the President met the Athletes' Commission and discussed the strengthening of athletes' representation, and also watched some volleyball. The visit was rounded off with a reception hosted by the NOC and attended by the Prime Minister.
The next day, President Bach was able to briefly visit Brisbane, where he met leaders of the city and state and members of the newly constituted Organising Committee.
The IOC President also dropped in on some sports competition at the Queensland Fencing Association Schools Competition, which is supported by the “Olympics Unleashed” programme run by the Australian Olympic Committee. After talking to young fencers he also took part in some sport. He was accompanied by IOC Member and Chair of the Brisbane 2032 Coordination Commission Kirsty Coventry. They were joined by the Premier of Queensland, Annastacia Palaszczuk, the Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Adrian Schrinner, and the CEO of the Australian Olympic Committee, Matt Carroll. Together with Kirsty Coventry, they later walked through the city looking at where some of the venues for the Olympic Games Brisbane 2032 will be situated.
The IOC and International Paralympic Committee (IPC), in partnership with Worldwide Olympic Partner Airbnb, are once again offering athletes the opportunity to apply for a USD 2,000 Airbnb Athlete Travel Grant to support them on their Olympic and Paralympic journeys. In 2021, 500 Olympians and Paralympians received an Airbnb Athlete Travel Grant that could be used by athletes to support their journeys to the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and this year the grant will be offered to a further 500 Olympic or Paralympic hopefuls. Applications are open until 20 May 2022. Find out more via the Athlete365 platform and read the full news release here.
Other Olympic news
The Official Film of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, by acclaimed Japanese director Naomi Kawase, has been selected for the Festival de Cannes. The film’s world premiere will take place at the prestigious cinematic event along with “Visions of Eight” from Munich 1972, in the “Cannes Classics” selection. The Official Film is set to be released in two parts, one depicting the Games through the eyes of the athletes (Side A), which will have its world premiere at Cannes on 25 May, and the other from the perspective of staff and volunteers (Side B), which will be slated for international release in June. Read the full news release here.
The International Cycling Union (UCI) has launched its Cycling Integrity brand, a programme that encompasses all the action – both existing and in development – that it undertakes to promote and enhance integrity in cycling at all levels (athletes, entourage and competitions). The objectives of the programme hinge on three pillars: clean cycling, safe cycling and fair cycling, each of which comprises a preventive or risk-limiting component as well as a responsive component for reporting and dealing with problems that arise. Full details here.
The International Swimming Federation (FINA) has revealed the 2022 FINA Swimming World Cup calendar. The competition will touch down in three cities over three consecutive weeks, with three days of action at each series stop this autumn. It will kick off in Berlin (Germany) from 21 to 23 October, before heading to North America for tour stops in Toronto (Canada) from 28 to 30 October and Indianapolis (USA) from 3 to 5 November. More details here.
The International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM) has announced that, following a meeting of its Fifth Discipline Working Group in Budapest (Hungary), two variations of the obstacle discipline have been selected for testing after leading over 60 proposals in the race to replace the riding discipline in modern pentathlon. The UIPM Executive Board decided to test the combination of the obstacle discipline alongside fencing, swimming and the laser run. Testing will begin immediately after the UIPM 2022 Pentathlon World Cup Final in Ankara (Turkey) in late June. Following comprehensive testing, a final decision will be taken by the UIPM Congress. More info here.
National Olympic Committees
The NOC of the Dominican Republic has expressed its support for the implementation of the Code of Ethics and Conduct that non-profit associations in the country must have. During a meeting at the Ministry for the Economy, Planning and Development, Gilberto García, the NOC Secretary General, underlined the importance of the document, which governs how NGOs should manage the resources they receive from the state. More details here.
The Slovak Olympic and Sports Committee recently announced that Slovak sports organisations and clubs have so far registered more than 400 athletes from Ukraine joining the training process in Slovakia since the outbreak of the war. Moreover, hundreds more children from Ukraine are playing sport in Slovakia in various school sports clubs. Many young Ukrainian athletes have already been given the opportunity to transfer to Slovak clubs, not only to train, but also to participate in events and take part in international competitions. Info at www.olympic.sk.
Thanks to Olympic Solidarity, the Uruguayan NOC has awarded a new coach training grant. Equestrian trainer Edison Quintana will now take part in the 43rd edition of the applied sports sciences course for coaches. After completing the distance learning part of the course, Quintana is now completing the in-person module at the High-Performance Sport Centre (CAR) in Barcelona (Spain), from 18 April until 12 May. As an athlete, Quintana competed in eventing at five editions of the Pan-American Games (Mar del Plata 1995, Winnipeg 1999, Rio de Janeiro 2007, Toronto 2015 and Lima 2019). In the photo above, Quintana (centre) is accompanied by NOC President and IOC Honorary Member Julio C. Maglione and Uruguayan Equestrian Federation President Álvaro Banchero. More details on www.cou.org.uy.
Organising Committees for the Youth Olympic Games
Since the start of the spring, Senegal has been celebrating sport and its values with activities organised in the lead-up to the Youth Olympic Games Dakar 2026. The programme of activities has been developed as part of the pre-Games legacy plan. It embodies the Dakar 2026 vision: “Youth and sport united to contribute to the transformation of Senegal, and a source of inspiration for Africa”. The first Dakar 2026 initiatives were launched at the beginning of May through the Olympic Values Education Programme (OVEP), with 60 future OVEP implementers taking part in a training course to help them develop their own educational programmes around the Olympic values. Read the full news release here.
The Medical and Anti-Doping Commission of the Association of the National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) met at the end of April by videoconference in the build-up to the Tunis International Conference. Coordinated by the Commission Chair, Patrick Coker, the meeting was attended by ANOCA President and IOC Member Mustapha Berraf and the President of the Tunisian NOC, Mehrez Boussayene, among others. At the end of the meeting, it was announced that, on 3 and 4 June 2022, the International Conference on the fight against pandemics and the preservation of athletes’ health will be hosted by Tunisia, which had been previously selected. Info at www.africaolympic.com.
During a visit to the San Marino NOC, the President of the International Committee of the Mediterranean Games (ICMG), Davide Tizzano, had conversations with the NOC President, Gian Primo Giardi, and with the General Secretary, Eros Bologna, during which Tizzano reiterated his willingness to cooperate for sports development projects. During a meeting with the Secretary of State for Sport, Teodoro Lonfernini, the ICMG President also reaffirmed this willingness to cooperate, recalling the values that guide the ICMG: the inclusion and equal consideration of all member countries, regardless of territorial dimensions. More details here.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) have launched a new interactive e-learning education course targeted at athletes and coaches intending to participate in the 2022 Commonwealth Games, which will run from 28 July to 8 August in Birmingham, England. The course, which is hosted on WADA’s Anti-Doping Education and Learning platform, ADEL, includes modules explaining which substances and methods are prohibited, whereabouts information and requirements at the Games. More details here.
More than 30,000 students from 42 schools took part in the “Trofei di Milano 2022 – Education, Culture and Sport for Young People” – inter-school sports and training activities organised by the International Sports Cinema and Television Federation (FICTS) designed to spread sports culture and the Olympic values among young people at schools, on the road to the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Milano Cortina 2026. Filippo Tortu, gold medallist at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 (4x100m relay), was the special guest torchbearer at the opening ceremony at the Arena Stadium in Milan. The torch was also carried by Francesco Ricci Bitti, President of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF), Antonio Rossi, Olympic champion and Councillor for Sport of the Lombardy Region, and Franco Ascani, FICTS President. More info here.
The French Association of Olympic and Sports Collectors (AFCOS) and the International Association of Olympic Collectors (IAOC) have announced that the Paris 2023 Olympic Collectors’ World Fair will be held from 23 to 25 June – almost one year out from the Olympic Games Paris 2024. The Fair is being organised with the support of the Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage, the French National Olympic and Sports Committee, and the French National Sports Agency. More info here and at www.aicolympic.org.