ANOC President’s New Year Message
As we enter into 2018 full of excitement and optimism, there is also a lot to look back on fondly from the last 12 months.
Despite not being an Olympic year, the athletes across summer and winter sports continued to put on a show to excite and inspire the world in 2017. Many International Federations (IFs) hosted their world championships and other major competitions, which provided a welcome reminder of what sport is all about. For all the exceptional moments of collective and individual brilliance, there were moments of sportsmanship and friendship that collectively showcased the Olympic values in action.
It was these very moments that we celebrated at the fourth edition of ANOC Awards in Prague, Czech Republic in November. The best male and female athletes from each of the five continents were honoured at a very special ceremony broadcast around the world. The ANOC Awards not only recognised the world’s best athletes but also provided an evening of celebration to thank the NOCs for their dedication and hard work 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Prague was of course the host of our largest ever ANOC General Assembly. Representatives from 205 NOCs were present as well as representatives from the IOC, IFs, and Organising Committees of the upcoming Olympic Games. There were many excellent interventions, reports and discussions over the course of the two days, which gave us every confidence that by working together with all stakeholders in the Olympic Family we will keep moving towards a brighter future.
The Olympic Agenda 2020 half-time status report in 2017 demonstrated that under the leadership of the IOC, we have made excellent progress. The IOC’s innovative and historic decision to jointly award Paris and Los Angeles the Olympic Games in 2024 and 2028 respectively has ensured the stability of the Games for the next 10 years. They are two excellent cities and we have no doubt that they will host Games that provide the very best environment for NOCs and their athletes. The changes to the 2026 Candidature Process will also provide stability by reducing costs and simplifying procedures.
There is of course a lot more work to be done and we cannot ignore that this year, while very successful, has not been without its issues. There have been a number of very serious allegations, which rightly have been, and continue to be, addressed. However, in our desire to protect the integrity of sport we must not forget the right of every individual and organisation to proper investigation and due process before conclusions are drawn or sanctions are made.
ANOC fully supported the IOC’s decision to suspend the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) but still create a path for clean individual athletes to compete in PyeongChang 2018 under the Olympic Flag. While the IOC continues to deliver firm but fair sanctions against those who have proven to have cheated, we hope that 2018 will be a year in which the serious incidences of doping are confined to the past. Everyone in the Olympic Movement has a responsibility to ensure clean sport. As progress continues to be made on the Independent Testing Authority (ITA), we at ANOC look forward to working with them and urge the Continental Associations to join the ITA as Major Event Organisers (MEOs) to ensure the protection of clean athletes.
By continuing to reform and improve, we can make sure that 2018 is a year in which sport and athletes are centre-stage. I hope that at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games the focus is firmly on the clean athletes who have dedicated their lives to achieving their Olympic dreams. I am sure that PyeongChang 2018 will be a spectacular and secure Games and we wish all NOCs competing in the Games and their athletes the very best of luck.
Preparations for the inaugural ANOC World Beach Games in San Diego in 2019 will continue to advance in 2018 as we ready ourselves to host a sustainable and truly global festival for beach and water sports. The new vibrant logo and youth-focused event concept were unveiled at the ANOC General Assembly and 2018 will see an acceleration in promotion of the event. Our vision is that the ANOC World Beach Games will be where sport becomes youth culture. We are very excited about the opportunities that the event will present NOCs to connect with new and young audiences through new sports and new stars.
At the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games (YOG), it will be the young people themselves on show, as well as new and exciting sports. At the YOG, elite athletes of tomorrow have the chance to show off their talent on a global stage, develop new friendships and experience different cultures.
2018 will also see Asia unite at the Asian Games in Jakarta-Palembang before the other Continental Associations host their Continental Games in 2019.
This is just some of what we have to look forward to. Through collaboration, we can build on the success and lessons learned from 2017 and ensure that 2018 is an even more productive and successful year.
On behalf of ANOC, we wish you all a happy and prosperous new year!
Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah,