Athletes taKe centre staGe at if Forum 2019
Olympians Jeannette Kwakye and Virginie Faivre delivered powerful messages focused on the role of the athlete as the 2019 IF Forum began in Lausanne earlier today.
The theme of year’s Forum is “Athlete Centred Sport”, with a number of high-profile athletes speaking at the event, alongside representatives of International Federations and non-sporting organisations.
After welcome remarks from IOC President Thomas Bach and Canton de Vaud State Councillor Philippe Leuba, as well as the opening address from GAISF and SportAccord President Raffaele Chiulli, former sprinter Kwakye talked about inspiring young athletes and keeping athletes front and centre of sports governance.
“Everyone has a different journey, and we need to take that into account when governing sport,” Kwakye said. Are we up to speed with the modern athlete? We need to make sure our core values still represent the athletes. If not, it is time to refocus how we treat athletes.
“When you think of an athlete-centred system, there are many benefits. Accountability, dual-respect, empowerment, excellence, health and well-being. The list goes on. Athletes should be at the heart of the strategies and policies. Any young person should be able to grow to become the world’s best.”
Lausanne 2020 Organising Committee President Virginie Faivre highlighted the importance of the Youth Olympic Games in engaging young athletes early in sports policy.
“It is essential for an athlete to be aware and involved in decision-making during their sporting careers,” she said. “The legacy at Lausanne 2020 is focused on how best we can impact young athletes and young people in general to be inspired.
“This is not only listening to their viewpoints, but also integrating athletes in the development of policy and strategy. Athletes need to be at the centre.”
As an Olympic gold medallist in his own right, President Bach gave his insight on the role of International Federations in working with athletes.
“This is a topic very close to all of us. Athletes are not only at the heart of the Olympic Movement, they are the heart of the Olympic Movement.
“You have the best expertise on how to run your sport and how to support your athletes. We must join forces to protect and support the development of sport at all levels. It is a great opportunity and I wish you fruitful discussion with and about the athletes here this week.”
President Chiulli said:
“The athletes are the ones who are experiencing first-hand what is happening in our sports. We should continue to listen to their feedback and work with them, constantly refining and improving.
“By strengthening our collaboration, I have no doubt we will see major benefits for the athletes.”
The 23rd IF Forum runs from 28-30 October, 2019, at the Royal Savoy Hotel in Lausanne.
Photo Credit: Getty Images