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The 2019 tug of war year has progressed well with a highly successful annual congress held end of April in Getxo and the attendance of the Sport Accord Convention in the Gold Coast, Australia. Full reports and feedback on these events have been shared with the members. More hard work remains with the focus on the development of a new 4 year policy plan for the period 2020 to 2024 where-in a lot of the items covered in these events will be taken into consideration.

This will include matters relating to the further development of the sport with a clear focus on broadening TWIF’s global footprint; the development of judges, recorders, coaches and administrators; support to existing and new members; looking at ways and means to increase participation at international events; governance issues and addressing the pressure on resources and the development of policies and procedures to ensure compliance relating to anti-doping; and the appearance, performance and appeal of our sport to sponsors, the media and growth through the attraction and participation of new athletes.

We live in a very transparent and ever-changing world. The tempo of this change is increasing with new technology and innovation driving the change. We need not see this as a threat but as a huge opportunity to adapt our very basic sport to this environment. In this I invite all our stakeholders to feel free to submit proposals and ideas which we can test and refine at various levels within the TWIF family from community/club level through to international TWIF events and multi-sport events. Our gender equality and mixed weight classes, and family participation from a very young age though to some fairly senior ages, are unique in the sporting environment which we need to capitalise on.

As we now head for the 2019 highlight being the TWIF European Championship for senior men and women, and the World Championship for the Youth and Under 23, in Ireland at the beginning of September, I wish all national and club teams all the best with their preparation. We know the Irish are excellent hosts and with their track record and experience in organising international events, we will no doubt have another excellent event both on and off the competition field.