18 Nov 2019
From 11 to 15 November, IOC President Thomas Bach toured West Africa, visiting Cape Verde, Senegal, Nigeria and Cameroon.
During his first stopover in Cape Verde, the IOC President was accompanied by the new IOC Member in Cape Verde and NOC President, Filomena Fortes. During a meeting with the President of Cape Verde, Jorge Carlos Fonseca, the two leaders were able to discuss the important role of sport in society, particularly for health and education, and the preparations for the upcoming Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. President Bach also met the Prime Minister of the country, José Ulisses Correia e Silva, as well as the Mayor of the city of Praia, Óscar Santos. The Prime Minister emphasised the importance of sustainability and environmental protection and promised his full backing for the Olympic Truce Resolution, which will be put to the United Nations in December.
Later, they were welcomed by more than 3,000 young people engaged in a “Sports for Life” event in one of Praia's stadiums. The programme is run in cooperation with UNICEF. Throughout the visit, President Bach was also accompanied by new IOC Member and President of the Association of the National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA), Mustapha Berraf.
From Praia, the President went to the Senegalese capital, Dakar, to see the progress of preparations for the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Dakar 2022. The President was able to see some of the preparations for the YOG when he visited Dakar’s 50m swimming pool and aquatics centre, and the site of the urban sports centre which will be nearby. Later, the President was able to experience the enthusiasm of the local people for sport at the “Parcours Sportif” on the beach, where there were demonstrations of taekwondo, fencing and karate. His visit follows the first meeting of the IOC Coordination Commission which took place last month.
Earlier, at the Presidential Palace in Dakar, President Bach was made a Commander of the “National Order of the Lion” by the President of Senegal, Macky Sall. The Senegalese President talked of the “pride of his country, its people and its President” in staging the Youth Olympic Games, and he said Senegal was “fully engaged with the IOC to deliver historic Games”. The Senegalese President also talked of the importance of sport for supporting social cohesion and international understanding, and offered Senegal’s support for the Olympic Truce Resolution.
President Bach was accompanied throughout his visit to Senegal by IOC Member and President of the Senegal NOC, Mamadou Ndiaye, who was able to welcome him to the NOC’s new headquarters.
The visit to Nigeria began in Abuja with a welcome dinner hosted by the Vice President of Nigeria, Yemi Osibanjo, who was representing the Nigerian President, who, for personal reasons, could not be present. Joined by Nigerian Olympians, President Bach was accompanied by ANOCA President Mustapha Berraf, and African IOC Members.
The following day, President Bach and his delegation attended the inauguration of the new ANOCA headquarters. He was joined by ANOCA President Berraf as well as presidents and representatives of many of the 54 African NOCs. President Bach told them: “a new home is always a chance to look to the future. Bringing all African NOCs together under one roof is a chance to take African sport to new heights.”
Earlier, the President visited Aduive school, which puts the Olympic values at the heart of its curriculum. After meeting the pupils and seeing sports demonstrations, the President unveiled Olympic rings at the school playing fields.
Later, he had a Q&A session with Nigerian athletes, including Olympians and those hoping to qualify for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The President answered a range of questions, from athlete numbers at the Olympic Games to the future of esports and egames. The athletes also thanked him for the reforms of Olympic Agenda 2020 and the progress being made by the IOC in gender equality.
In Cameroon, President Bach was welcomed by the new IOC Member in the country, Odette Assembe Engoulou, and by the NOC President, Hamad Kalkaba. Honorary IOC Member Issa Hayatou was also present. The visit began with a dinner given by the Prime Minister of Cameroon, Joseph Ngute.
The next day, President Bach was welcomed at the headquarters of the Cameroon NOC by hundreds of school children and many Cameroonian Olympians. He praised the role played by the NOC in bringing the country together, and wished the athletes luck for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
Later, President Bach met with the Prime Minister of Cameroon, and they discussed the excellent relations between the government and the NOC, and the government’s respect for the autonomy of sport.
The President was also able to drop in on the Cameroon International Badminton competition – an event that counts towards Olympic qualification – which was being held in the capital Yaoundé, where he spent time talking with athletes.
Before attending a farewell lunch hosted by the Cameroon Minister of Sport, Narcisse Mouelle Kombi, President Bach was able to visit the African Centre for Olympic Studies to meet staff and see the work being done at the centre.
On 16 November in Lausanne, the IOC President chaired a conference call of the IOC Executive Board. During this meeting, the new TOP partnership with Airbnb, to be announced on Monday 18 November, was discussed. Furthermore, the IOC Anti-Doping Rules applicable to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualifying events for boxing and the entry form conditions for participating athletes were approved.
On Sunday 17 November in London (Great Britain), the IOC President attended the 2019 ATP Finals. The tournament saw the doubles victory of French pair Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut against South Africa’s Raven Klaasen and New Zealand’s Michael Venus; then the singles victory of Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas against Austria’s Dominic Thiem. In the evening, the President had dinner with Airbnb co-founder and CPO Joe Gebbia and the Airbnb leadership and with Mike Peters, the CEO of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).
Other Olympic news
The IOC has awarded the Japan Consortium (JC) the broadcast rights in Japan for the Olympic Games during the period from 2026 to 2032. The broadcaster has acquired the exclusive television and digital broadcast rights with a commitment to broadcast its most comprehensive coverage ever across all media platforms, including every single Olympic sport, with unprecedented digital content and Olympic Games coverage on free-to-air national television channels. Full news release here.
international sportS FEDERATIONS
On 15 November, the Executive Committee of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) decided the hosts of both the men's and women's Olympic Qualifying Tournaments, set to take place next year. Full details here. The road to Tokyo for the men will see 24 teams compete in four qualifying tournaments of six teams each. For the women, 16 teams will be split into four groups, who will then battle for spots at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The official Draw Ceremony for all the Olympic Qualifying Tournaments will take place at the Patrick Baumann House of Basketball, FIBA headquarters in Mies (Switzerland), on 27 November.
The International AssociationFootball Federation (FIFA) has announced French manager Arsene Wenger as its Chief of Global Football Development. Wenger (r. in photo) was welcomed by FIFA President Gianni Infantino to the world football governing body’s headquarters in Zurich (Switzerland). Wenger will be chiefly responsible for overseeing and driving the growth and development of the sport for both men and women around the world. He will also be the leading authority on technical matters, both as a member of the Football and Technical Advisory Panels involved in the International Football Association Board’s review and decision-making process on potential changes to the Laws of the Game, and as Chairman of the FIFA Technical Study Group, which has conducted the technical analysis of FIFA tournaments since 1966. Full news release here.
The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) announced that young North and South Korean weightlifters recently competed in the Youth and Junior Asian Weightlifting Championships organised in Pyongyang (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)). The competition also served as a Gold Level Qualification Event for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. A 65-strong delegation, including 38 (young and junior) athletes from the Republic of Korea crossed the border to the DPRK. In 2013, South Korean athletes also took part in the Asian Cup organised in Pyongyang. More details here.
The International Swimming Federation (FINA) 2019 Swimming World Cup concluded on 9 November in Doha (Qatar), with Russia’s Vladimir Morozov and Australia’s Cate Campbell crowned overall winners of the circuit. Seven legs were on the programme of this 2019 edition: Tokyo (Japan), Jinan (People’s Republic of China), Singapore, Budapest (Hungary), Berlin (Germany), Kazan (Russian Federation) and Doha. Swimmers from 39 nations won medals, and 25 new records were set. More info at www.fina.org.
NATIONAL Olympic COMMITTEES
Over 40 students have successfully completed the sixth advanced course in sports management organised by the NOC of Argentina with support from Olympic Solidarity. Each year, this nine-month course allows the NOC to train the staff of national and provincial sports federations. More info here.
In October and November, the Brazilian NOC joined international breast and prostate cancer prevention campaigns. The NOC’s HQ and the Team Brasil training centre in Rio de Janeiro had their facades lit up in pink and blue in a nod to the aforementioned campaigns. The 140 NOC staff members, 53 per cent of whom are women, also received lectures from medical specialists and took part in blood donation sessions. More info at www.cob.org.
The Spanish NOC, the Community of Valencia and the Trinidad Alfonso Foundation have presented a new support programme aiming to make Spain, and particularly the Community of Valencia, one of the international hubs for major sports events. This is an extension to the Competition Support Programme (PAC_CV), which each year attracts around 20 official competitions to the three provinces in the Community of Valencia. More info here.
organisING COMMITTEES FOR THE OLYMPIC GAMES
On 11 November, the Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 (Tokyo 2020) unveiled details of the Greek leg of the Olympic Torch Relay and the flame-lighting and handover ceremonies, which will take place in Greece prior to the flame’s journey to Japan. These events will be organised by the Hellenic NOC. The flame-lighting ceremony will take place on 12 March 2020 at Olympia, home of the ancient Games in Greece. Following the Greek leg of the Relay, a ceremony to mark the handover of the flame from the Hellenic NOC to Tokyo 2020 representatives will be held in the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens on 19 March 2020. More details here. In addition, Tokyo 2020 has revealed the designs of the bouquets that will be presented to medallists at the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, which will be created using flowers grown mainly in the areas most affected by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. Special-edition versions of the Olympic and Paralympic mascots, Miraitowa and Someity, will be attached to the bouquets. More info here.
The Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 (Beijing 2022) has been awarded the prestigious international certification ISO 20121, recognising its sustainability performance across all its operations. The certification covers all Beijing 2022 activities, from planning through to development and implementation. Beijing 2022 is the first event organisation in China to be awarded the certification. “This certification sends a strong message about not only Beijing 2022’s commitment to sustainability, but also China’s commitment,” said Juan Antonio Samaranch, Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission for Beijing 2022. “This achievement is laying the groundwork for many other events to come in China, be that sporting events or any other events.” Full press release here.
organisING COMMITTEES FOR THE Youth OLYMPIC GAMES
The Lausanne 2020 Organising Committee has announced that its online ticketing platform will open on 21 November at 11a.m. This platform will enable the public to purchase tickets to the Opening Ceremony held on 9 January 2020 (7.30 p.m.) and to register – free of charge – to attend the Games’ indoor competitions. Full details here.
The newly composed Council of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) chaired by Francesco Ricci Bitti, met in Lausanne on 13 November. During its meeting, the Council discussed the third IF governance assessment which was launched very recently. It also learnt about the latest preparations for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and the Youth Olympic Games Dakar 2022 as well as the results of a new study on IF engagement in esports. Full details here.
On 5 November, the International Association for Sports and Leisure Facilities (IAKS) announced the results of the IOC/IAKS and IPC/IAKS architecture prizes for 2019. The winning projects came from 14 countries worldwide. This year, 98 projects from all continents were in the running, including from Malaysia, Mexico, Namibia, Chinese Taipei and Qatar. Details and list of winners here.