In the opening of the recent European Senior and World Junior Outdoor Championship held in Castlebar, Ireland, I stated that participation in the Olympics remain our highest ambition. This is however also the ambition of virtually every other sport that is not currently on the Olympic programme.
So, to achieve this objective, we have to be realistic because modern sport has become a business. We need to adapt to this environment without loosing our soul and the essence of our sport. Big money and professionalism, on the back of discerning spectators and a media thriving on sensation, is driving modern sport – in fact sport has become entertainment. And we have to entertain too.
We certainly have a long way to go to achieve this dream, but we have made a start. There are a number of things under our control such as to act professionally by ensuring that our appearance, our behaviour, and our performance on the field are on par and better than professional sports. That our administration and governance is based on best practice with transparent and ethical behaviour.
As we progress towards developing a new 4 year policy plan (period 2020 to 2024), we can build on these and adapt further to differentiate our sport by the use of technology and innovation to be more attractive for sponsors, the media and spectators. In short, we need to present our sport as if we are professionals – both on and off the field.
It is therefore with great pleasure that I can announce a new partnership agreement with Protocol Sports, which aims to market our sports to potential sponsors globally. It will be a long-term process, but as one of the most basic sports that has been around since ancient times in virtually every community over the ages, we have much to offer not only in terms of values, sportsmanship, education, exercise and pure fun, but also top level performance by our athletes as we have again witnessed at the last championship.
We need to support this on the field performance with an equally high standard of judging, recording and general administration which includes compliance with anti-doping requirements, legal issues relating to child protection, abuse and harassment, and privacy policies which will continue to put huge pressure on our limited resources. For this reason, the recent focus on training courses, materials and development seminars in various regions will form an integral part of our next 4 year implementation plans. And for this we need resources.
I wish to invite all stakeholders to provide the TWIF Exco with ideas and proposals on how and with what TWIF can support and augment initiatives on all levels within our tug of war communities. Please submit your ideas to the office of the Secretary General.
Be part of the SOLUTION – Be part of FUTURE.
In conclusion, I wish to thank the Irish Association again for their excellent organisation of the championship in Castlebar. You were wonderful hosts and we are already looking forward to the World Indoors in February in Letterkenny. This will be one of the 2 events in 2020 which will also be the platform for the celebration of the TWIF 60th anniversary.
Until then, may you all have a Blessed Festive season and all the best for 2020.