The 2016 Annual Congress has come and gone with good presence from the senior TWIF members. I term them “senior” because it are them that carries the Federation year in and year out by their participation at TWIF events, diligently paying their membership fees and serving in the various TWIF Commissions and Committees which were also re-constituted for the next 4 years. This period to 2020 will be guided by the new Policy Plan which was adopted by Congress. My thanks to those countries and individuals who stick up their hand and work tirelessly for the development of the tug of war sport.
In my view, the 2016 Congress will always stand out as the end of an era. The unanimous bestowment of an Honorary Life Presidency to Mr Cathal McKeever by Congress and the well attended gala-dinner afterwards to say farewell to him and honour his legacy, signifies the end of an era and his leadership. An era of developing TWIF as one which don’t have to stand back from more known sporting codes which started by his predecessor, Mr Co Koren.
This “standing” or TWIF are linked to the very high level of performance on the competition field by our athletes, excellent organisation of events, and administrative and organisational support via the development and provision of guidance materials and aids to assist members with coaching, training, judging and youth development specifically.
We certainly have a way to go, but this provides a solid base for the further development of the sport to attain a true global footprint in a new era of further growth and development. The outcome of this “era” will in my view be driven on continental level, especially in Asia and Africa. This process will however have to be facilitated in a transparent and well structured formal process with the support and buy-in of continental stakeholders within their particular culture and context. Clear leadership and governance structures will be essential for for future success.
This may lead to a re-structuring and re-scheduling of the various TWIF events in the forseeable future. Such a process will have to be informed by a clear strategy based on the needs and requirements of the various regions and must address the TWIF funding model which is currently dependent on championship fees from World and Regional Championships. It was agreed that the TWIF Executive will lead the process and provide a clear “road map” to guide this process in a transparent and meaningfull way. Further detail in this regard will be communicated soon.
In the mean time, the 2016 World Outdoor Championships in Malmö, Sweden is starting to loom on the horison. From reports it is clear that everything is “under control” with the organisation of the event. This event is of particular interest for the Men 640Kg and 700Kg divisions given that the top 6 countries in these weigh classes will qualify for the 2017 World Games in Wroclaw, Poland.