Karate to Olympics, Muay thai towards Olympic recognition, Sambo also ...
By Nickolai Dolgopolov, AIPS Vice-president
MOSCOW, May 4, 2012 - European
Olympic Committees (EOC) is an international Olympic organization that unites
49 National Olympic Committees of Europe. These are the states developing the
Olympic ideas in the Old Continent. The EOC Headquarters are located in Rome.
The Head of EOC – Patrick Hickey, Ireland – is a member of IOC, holder of Black
Belt in Judo and a participant of the first international SAMBO tournament in
Europe. The Vice President of EOC is Alexandr Kozlovsky (Russia), a member of
Executive Committee of Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC). It
was his support that made it possible for SAMBO to be introduced to the
Management of EOC.
At the very end of April EOC gathered
in Budapest for a seminar during which a
meeting of the Executive Committee, workshops were hold and reports of future
Olympic Games host cities London and Sochi were presented.
The matters discussed at the
workshops of EOC reflected the most important activities of the European sport:
selection of young talented athletes and new options of development of
communications in the world of sport.
Europe is a “conservative continent,
and it was both honorable and exciting for FIAS representatives – the Head of
its Development Department Andrey Moshanov and press - attaché Natalia
Yukhareva – to present it to the highest sports officials of this continent.
However, they were supported by strong European SAMBO traditions, on the one
hand, and the keen interest of the European sports leaders at their
presentations. For them, SAMBO was an interesting and delightful topic. It was
the 33rd meeting of the highest Olympic officials of Europe, but the first one
at which a new sport was introduced.
Europe was chosen as the platform to
launch the development of SAMBO in the world, its practical importance and
social projects of FIAS were the three pillars SAMBO leaned on during the
presentation in Hungary. As a result SAMBO was invited to participate in the
General Assembly of EOC that will take place in the city of Eilat (Israel) in
the Mediterranean Coast.
EOC president Patrick Hickey assured
FIAS representatives that he was interested in development of SAMBO in Europe
and invited them, including the President of International SAMBO Federation
Vasily Shestakov to take part in the winter Assembly.
That is where the many preliminary
agreements related to EOC’s assistance to SAMBO are likely to be formalized.
SAMBO’s debut at the forum of Olympic
Europe included series of meetings between the Heads of National Olympic
Committees and the Head of FIAS Development Department Andrey Moshanov. They
exchanged opinions on the nuances and peculiarities of recognition of a sport
by the highest sports authorities in each of their respective countries which
helped Mr. Moshanov to understand the strong and the weak points of SAMBO”s
development and map out a cooperation plan.
Malta, Italy, Cyprus, Andorra,
Poland, Macedonia, and France – that is the incomplete list of countries the
Olympic Committees of which agreed to support SAMBO in Europe.
The next similar seminar will be held
in September, in San-Marino. Mr. Patrick Hickey assured FIAS that he would be
glad to see FIAS representatives at the seminar and to hear from their own lips
about the progress of SAMBO both in Europe and in the world.
The FIAS representatives are sure
that such progress is possible; and after the presentations and meetings the
confidence has grown a lot. Now, the most important thing is to materialize the
plans from day to day, without fear of hard routine work. Hard work cannot
scare us FIAS as SAMBO’s team is inspired by the common goal to promote SAMBO as
an Olympic sport.
In occasion of the annual national seminar organized by Italian Kickboxing Federation that took place in Cattolica (RN), Italy, from April 27th to May 1st, many great Italian champions like Gregorio Di Leo, Domenico De Marco, Adriano Passaro, Luisa Gullotti, Gloria De Bei ecc. met to discuss all together with referees and national coaches - Gianfranco Rizzi, Emanuele Bozzolani - about semi contact rules and regulations for an update and the future of semi contact style...
As special guests were also invited to take part to the event: Roy Baker, Nick Memmos and the international referees Rene Boesch, Brian Beck and Romeo Desa.
To have an idea about their meeting please have a look at the funny video that Gregorio Di Leo and Emanuele Bozzolani put together:
7th April 2012 in Fullerton, California, United States
Tommy Aaron from Elite Training Center first Savate Match @ Erik Paulson's CSW. His Cornerman is none other than his Teacher & Friend Nicolas Saignac, Boxe Francaise Champion.
As a major centre for higher education and research in Western France, at
Université de Nantes is one of France's top multidisciplinary universities. It is located in an attractive area boasting strong economic and demographic growth over the past two decades. The University has campuses in Nantes, Saint Nazaire and La Roche-sur-Yon. Nearly 90% of the students study at the campus in Nantes, the 6th largest city in France, located on the Loire estuary some thirty miles from the Atlantic coast and two hours from Paris. For more updates please visit our blog: http://www.campusfranceindiablog.com/
AND THEY ORGANISED ALSO SAVATE WORLD UNIVERSITY CHAMPIONSHIP 2010. OH MY GOD - FRENCH DISCOVERED THAT THEIR SPORT CAN BE ALSO INTERESTED ON A UNIVERSITY LEVEL TO PROMOTE THEIR UNIVERSITIES.
START AT --> 3:05
The President and the General Secretary of the WKF have been visiting Russia in the occasion of the ANOC General Assembly, from the 9th to the 16th April. Also the 1st WKF Vice-president Mr. William Millerson was present in Moscow, contributing to the contacts with the NOC's through his vast experience and relationships.
During the trip, they met with NOCs leaders, IOC members and local sport authorities in a rather fruitful visit that has served as prelude of the incoming months, were the WKF will be intensively campaigning for the 2020 Olympics. The next appearance of the WKF at the international scene will be in one month from now in Québec, Canada, during the annual SportAccord Convention, where the WKF will present officially Karate 2020 to the Olympic Family.
Mr. Yuri Avdeev, Chairman of the Sports Committee of St Petersburg city and Mr. Antonio Espinós, WKF President.
Mr. Antonio Espinós, WKF President; Mr. Alexandr Zhukov, President of the Olympic Committee of Russia, Deputy Chairman of the Russian Parliament – DUMA; Mr. George Yerolimpos, WKF General Secretary and Mr. Leonid Popov, President of Karate Federation of Russia.
Mr. Pavel Kolobkov, Deputy Minister of Sports of Russia; Mr. Vitaly Mutko, Minister of Sport, Tourism and Young Politics of Russia; Mr. Antonio Espinós, WKF President; Mr. Alexandr Inshakov, Chairman of Martial Arts Foundation; Mr. Leonid Popov, President of Karate Federation of Russia and Mr. George Yerolimpos, WKF General Secretary.
AIBA President, Dr Ching-Kuo Wu, along with AIBA Vice-President and European Boxing Confederation President Dr Humbert Furgoni travelled to the Bulgarian capital Sofia on Monday 23 April to discuss all things boxing with the President of the Republic of Bulgaria, Mr Rosen Plevneliev, the Bulgarian Prime Minister, Mr Boyko Borisov, the Minister of Sports, Mr Svilen Neykov and both the President of Bulgarian Boxing Federation, Mr Krassimir Ininski and the National Olympic Committee (NOC) President, Mrs Stefka Kostadinova.
The main focus of the visit centred on the AIBA Professional Boxing (APB) program and how Bulgaria can play a major role in its development. AIBA President first detailed the work done by AIBA in recent years with regards to the growth of the sport and then the efforts being made to consolidate the grassroots level. With the APB project, it was highlighted that the National Federations would now be able to play key roles in boxers' entire careers and would protect these athletes from the perils of the professional game.
All parties agreed during these talks that Bulgaria had a vital role to play in the future of the sport and that the new cooperation between AIBA and the Bulgarian Boxing Federation, under its new leader Mr Ininski, would bring back the glory days to one of the traditional leading nations in boxing. They also discussed possibilities of holding future major AIBA events in the country.
These local authorities strongly supported this development in the sport in Bulgaria and were keen to get the opportunity of hosting future international AIBA competitions. The Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, boxed in his youth whilst the Minister of Sport was a champion rower before training his wife to Olympic medals, so both were in total agreement into the benefits and impact that the cooperation with AIBA could have in the country. The NOC president Stefka Kostadinova still holds the world record in women's high jump so was delighted to see the concerted efforts being made for the development of sport in Bulgaria.
On April 2 2012 in Taipei, Taiwan, AIBA President Dr. Ching-Kuo Wu, signed the agreement whereby AIBA formally adopted the Brighton Declaration on Women and Sport. The signing ceremony was held in the presence of Mr. Yun Fun Tseng, Executive Director of the Olympia Foundation, and Mr. Kent Lu, President of the Olympism Society.
President Wu used the opportunity to comment on the ongoing commitment of both AIBA, the IOC and the IWG to promoting women in sport.
"It is very appropriate that AIBA has signed the Brighton Declaration in 2012. 2012 is a landmark year in the development of women's boxing. This summer, in London, women boxers will compete in the Olympic Games for the first time. This will be a proud moment for all women boxers and for AIBA", President Wu said.
"AIBA has worked hard to develop the sport of women's boxing so that our association's dream of seeing women boxers feature in the Olympic program would become a reality. AIBA recognizes the great work being done by the IOC and the International Working Group on Women in Sport to promote women's sport and we are keen to do as much as we can to support their endeavours."
"The Brighton Declaration is an important document for the promotion of women's sport and AIBA is delighted to be amongst the signatories. AIBA is committed to upholding and supporting the 10 principles set out in the Declaration".
At the 2012 Olympic Games in London 36 women boxers will compete across three weight categories. 3 of those women will make history by becoming the first ever female boxers to win an Olympic gold medal. The AIBA Women's World Championships, which will be held in Qinhuangdao, China from May 9 - May 20, serve as the qualifying event for the Olympic Games.
About the IWG and the Brighton Declaration
The International Working Group on Women and Sport (IWG) (http://www.iwg-gti.org/) was established in 1994 at the 1st World Conference on Women and Sport held in Brighton. The Brighton Declaration on Women and Sport was the result of this conference. The Declaration is based on 10 Principles: Equity and Equality in Society and Sport; Facilities; School and Junior Sport; Developing Participation; High Performance Sport; Leadership in Sport; Education, Training and Development; Sports Information and Research; Resources; Domestic and International Cooperation. The overriding aim of the Brighton Declaration is to develop a sporting culture that enables and values the full involvement of women in every aspect of sport. The next IWG world conference will be held in Helsinki, Finland in 2014.
As you mentioned, a women’s boxing event will be held at London for the first time this summer, what business/sporting impact do you think it will have? What kind of reception are you expecting from fans?
AIBA President Dr Ching-Kuo Wu, an architect and former Taiwanese basketball player, is an IOC member since 1988 and served as Executive Member of the International Boxing Association before his Presidency.
Dr Wu was elected on 6 November 2006 during the Congress held in Santo Domingo with high hopes of reforming AIBA into a transparent, trustable and professionally operated governing body. He has successfully brought about a new era of boxing with his determination and devotion launching the one of a kind World Series of Boxing in 2010 and the AIBA Professional Boxing a year later.
AIBA has become a respected and model organisation where efficiency, honesty and equality are ever present. President Wu continues to build on the qualities of AIBA and reach for higher, bolder goals that will bring boxing into a category of its own.
As the President of the AIBA, what would consider the most challenging aspect of your current role? Greatest achievement?
When I took over the Presidency of the AIBA in 2006, I thought the overall condition of boxing was in a very bad shape. The main problem was that the International Olympic Committee’s all had a different opinion on the management of the AIBA, so my first role was to clean up the reputation of the organisation. This was arguably the most challenging aspect of my role, particularly when I first started. We immediately decided to set up a reform as if it was strongly required at that time. I knew the business problems that the sport was going through, as I was an Executive Committee member of the AIBA from 1982 to 1998, so the idea of a reform to rejuvenate the AIBA was a step in the right direction in my opinion.
We also declared a mission statement that we would work towards, which still exists today. We aim to keep the AIBA clean, honest, and a transparent organisation whilst retaining a zero-tolerance policy towards any form of corruption and dishonesty.
Although I think we still have to work hard in order to achieve more accomplishments, I am very pleased with how we have improved the condition of the AIBA since I was elected as President. We can be very proud of that. The whole structure of the organisation is much more united, reliable, and transparent which makes our goals appear clearer and everything runs more smoothly.
Seeing as you were a keen basketball player in your youth, how and why did your attentions start focusing more towards boxing?
I started playing basketball in primary school when I was around eight years old, and have maintained a keen interest in the sport ever since. Even now, I still enjoy shooting a few hoops in my spare time! In terms of boxing, I began learning about the sport in my secondary school years, where I was intrigued about the physical and mental aspects required to be a boxer. I turned this interest into participating in low-level boxing events and practicing martial arts which both helped me build my charisma, confidence and courage. I count the sport as helping me progress as a person in all walks of life and it certainly moulded my goal into becoming involved in the sport as part of my long-term career plan.
How did you make the transition from being an architect to becoming involved in sports business?
An architect is a very skilled profession and requires extensive training in order to be fully prepared for the role. My training in architecture was pivotal in teaching me a rational approach to solve many problems because it helps build your imagination and decision-making. These skills can prove very useful in many professions, and is not something to be taken for granted. This methodology gave me the inspiration to pursue my passion of boxing, and gave me the ambition to become the President of the AIBA.
The AIBA is aiming to unveil a new business model that involves a new marketing company called the Boxing Marketing Arm. How is this model going to plan a major reform of the sport?
The business plan for the BMA has been approved very recently and we are very happy with how things are progressing in this sector. Suitable planning is very important to any new business module as it is acts as the foundation of the project, and can determine whether it will be a success in the short/long term. The mission is to stabilise the marketing success of continual growth of the AIBA and the sport of boxing in general. The BMA’s roles will be to improve television revenue, sponsorship, marketing development and merchandising whilst acting as the professional boxing promoter. I have high hopes for this model, as I believe this reform will vastly benefit the marketing of the sport and provide a platform for success in the long-term.
When serving as AIBA committee chairman, you proposed a reform that included the installation of scoreboards to allow fans to see how judges score fights in real time. What was your thinking behind this reform? How did you make the transition of being committee chairman to becoming president of the AIBA?
In every sporting competition, I think fans watching the event want to know what’s going on at all times. I feel boxing has lost the trust of it’s supporters in recent times so we needed to come up with an idea in restoring confidence in the points system in particular.
If we have the open scoring boards, the fans will see the progression of the event they are witnessing and will have a more clear idea of the sport. With judges and referees making decisions in a short pace of time, it is hard for the viewers to fully understand how the scoring system is taking place. This is very evident in boxing, as the fans have no idea who is winning at any moment in time.
The scoring boards will allow the spectators in the stands, or watching on TV, to see what scores the five judges are awarding during the course of the fight. Boxing is a very subjective judging sport, so this reform would be very important in keeping the sport open and make the audience feel more part of the action.
As mentioned before, I was an AIBA executive committee member from 1982 to 1998 whilst being the chairman of three different commissions, so it was a very busy time. During these experiences, I learnt many positive and negative aspects about the organisation that aided my development into becoming the President of the AIBA. I challenged the existing administration about the structure of the AIBA and allegations of cheating as the organisation was crying out for change. Without these reforms, the sport would have gone into decline, when the only way was to move forward. I stood for the Presidency in 1998, but was not successful on this occasion. However, I vowed to return and was eventually installed into the role eight years later in 2006.
The AIBA professional boxing action is set to begin in early 2013, what impact do you think this will have on the boxing world?
The most important aspect of this is to protect the best interests of the boxers involved. In the past, the best boxers from the Olympic Games and World Championships were wasted by the professional bodies. Let’s just say there were many talented boxers who were entered into the wrong competitions/weights by the bodies and were not successful. From this, they couldn’t return to amateur boxing, and ultimately disappeared from the boxing world. This simply cannot happen again. We aim to utilise talent and not waste it.
The professional boxing action will start in September 2013, which I’m really looking forward too. Preparations have been under way for over a year now, so we are now at the advanced stages of implementing the project. The BMA and are supporting the event and I am very confident the impact will be very significant indeed.
How important are the Olympic Games to the growth of the sport, both in sporting terms and business terms – the exposure?
Because the AIBA is part of the Olympic family, it means the guarantee of the support from financial government and the National Olympic Committee. More importantly, we will have support from the public and our exposure of the sport is significantly heightened towards this audience. All of the sports in the Olympic programme receive television rights sales and revenues from the IOC every four years, which has been a great help in terms of finance.
In addition, the Olympic family also aids greater success in sponsorship, television revenue, and our various marketing programmes. Without Olympic events, trying to build marketing and sponsorship projects would prove to be very difficult so you simply cannot underestimate the benefits this type of event can give to your sport.
In sporting terms, the Olympics are huge to any athlete competing for gold. To be an Olympian for your country is every competitors dream, and something they never forget. The opportunity to prove yourself on a world event is one most athletes relish, so I’m sure they will be very excited for the opening ceremony this summer. It’s not only a special time for the participants, but also the fans, who always create an atmosphere that cannot be matched.
Do you think the Boxing event will be more successful than previous Olympics like Beijing in 2008 for example?
No doubt about it, the boxing event in Beijing was a success. With the Games coming to London this summer, it’s going to be very different. The test event at the Excel arena last November went according to plan and we are very happy with the outcome. I think the introduction of the women’s boxing event will help make London 2012 even more special than previous Olympics as it represents progression in our sport, which will intrigue our supporters. I am happy to report that we have completely sold out tickets for the women’s event, which represents a huge coup for our organisation. Furthermore, the majority of the tickets for the men’s boxing event are also sold out so I have full confidence in London becoming one of the best Olympic Games of the past decade.
Since women’s boxing officially entered the Olympic programme, I think the number of females participating in boxing has increased dramatically. So far, we have received tremendous media/press exposure regarding this event, as everyone is so keen to witness a historic moment in our sport. Of course we welcome the public attention as it not only increases the audience of the sport through TV coverage, but also sets a precedent for future female boxing events.
Once the Games have concluded this summer, we are certainly expecting a huge increase in female boxing participants. I’m convinced that the women’s boxing event will reach the top populous women’s sport at the Olympics in the near future once it has established itself in the programme. Watch this space!
How has the increased use of social networking in the last 10 years promoted Boxing events? Do you think it is a good advertising tool to attract new fans and participants?
The AIBA and WSB are very keen on social media. For example, the WSB started the season with 6,500 fans on Facebook and now have 10,000, even before the end of the season. I think the platform provides an invaluable chance for us to connect to our fans on a more personal level, and answer some of their questions regarding the organisation and the events we run. After I took over in 2006, one of our priorities was to set up our new website and integrate ourselves into the growing social media trend. Our fans can now watch footage of our events on our website, whilst our Facebook/Twitter pages allows us to interact and network with a huge number of people who are keen followers of our sport. Overall, I think it’s a superb advertising tool to attract not only existing boxing fans, but also new fans, who are keen to learn more about our events.
What are your views on London’s ExCel venue? Will it provide a platform to make the Boxing event successful?
As I previously mentioned, the test event went very well at London in November so I’m very confident in our event becoming a huge success. During the test event, we reported a great deal of crowd cheering and the overall response was excellent. I believe the venue will allow the atmosphere too reach news levels, whilst it gives us the opportunity to build relationships with the many other sporting federations using the ExCel this summer. Let’s just say I am thoroughly looking forward to taking my seat in the venue on the 28thJuly!
Muhammed Ali, George Foreman & Oscar De La Hoya have all collected gold medals at the Olympics. Do you think the Olympics are a good platform for future stars to market themselves commercially and become global stars in the sport?
Olympic boxing is the very first step for any boxers looking to gain experience in the sport. The names you have mentioned were all examples of this. If a boxer achieves good results in the Olympics, it is very common that they will go onto achieve a long and successful career in the professional boxing world. However, I always thought it is a big risk for a young boxing talent to turn professional without suitable boxing promoters. This is why we decided to create the APB, which we wanted to govern the sport of boxing and oversee the development of boxers from grassroots level to professional. With this backing from the APB, talented young boxers can expect to be looked after throughout their whole career, and transformed into future stars of the sport.
What youth development programmes are in place for the AIBA to discover a new generation of Boxing Athletes? How would keen, young athletes start their dream in featuring at an Olympic Games?
We have a future development of grassroots programme in place called the AIBA boxing academy, which opens next year in Almaty, Kazakhstan. These programmes have been put in place for athletes to train before World Championships and Olympic events, where we monitor their development and offer the best resources that they require. We pay for everything; this includes the travelling, equipment, training facilities so young boxers don’t have to worry about finances. Everything is covered.
What is the short and long term plans of the AIBA? What does the future hold for Boxing?
In the short term, the AIBA is very much looking forward to the WSB team finals on the 2ndMay, and the individual championships on the 9thJune at the ExCel center. Not long after that, we are obviously counting down the days until the Olympic Games. At the same time, the entre APB revolution is underway and we will spend a lot of effort to make this concept becoming a reality. Soon, the boxing world and media will know about this as the launch date is fixed, and the boxers will all sign the contract before the London Games.
Our more long-term plans include recruiting new judges and ringside doctors in time for the new season in September 2013, because they are badly needed in boxing at this moment in time. The AIBA has highlighted this as a high priority case and it needs to be sorted sooner rather than later, even though we have more then a year to improve the numbers.
HELSINKI, Finland – As part of INTERPOL’s initiative with FIFA against corruption in sport, players, referees, betting regulators and law enforcement officials have taken part in the first of a series of training workshops to improve awareness and understanding of corruption in football, of the strategies used by its perpetrators, and of the methods to recognize, resist and report them.
The two-day workshop (11-12 April) brought together some 30 key officials from Finland’s Ministry of sport and culture, football federation, players union, and the referees association. The Football Federation of Finland and the Finnish Police worked collaboratively with INTERPOL in the design and preparation of the workshop.
Finland’s Minister of Sport and Culture, Paavo Arhinmäki, underlined his government’s strong support for efforts in fighting match-fixing and the need for national authorities ‘to work together with clubs and especially with young players’.
FIFA’s Senior Security Manager, Serge Dumortier, said the workshop was ‘the first real fruit from the INTERPOL - FIFA partnership’. He described how football and many other international sports face a crisis in which they are squeezed between massive international gambling on their matches and contests, and criminals who have no interest in sport.
Officials at the workshop also received a detailed briefing of the efforts being done to raise awareness of match-fixing in Italy’s Lega Pro Division by its General Manager, Francisco Ghirelli, with Risto Nieminen, CEO of the World Lotteries Association, reiterating the Association’s ‘ongoing support’ for the INTERPOL-FIFA Anti-Corruption Initiative. John Abbott, Chair of INTERPOL’s Steering Group, Integrity in Sport, moderated the workshop.
In May 2011, INTERPOL entered into a 10-year initiative with FIFA to develop and implement a global training, education and prevention programme with a focus on regular and irregular betting as well as match-fixing.
To achieve this goal INTERPOL launched a dedicated Integrity in Sport unit to develop and implement a training programme within the INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation which will open in Singapore in 2014.
"Combating match-fixing and corruption in sport is at an extremely critical phase. The need to educate athletes in the methods used by criminals and their networks to infiltrate International Sport is essential, to protect them and the game itself. The success of this two-day workshop, was a direct result of the invaluable and effective collaboration between the Football Federation of Finland, Finnish Police and INTERPOL," said Fred Lord, INTERPOL’s Integrity in Sport Programme Manager.
The objective of INTERPOL’s Programme is to improve awareness and understanding of corruption in sport, the strategies used by its perpetrators and the methods to detect and counteract them.