End of Year Message

2019 has been an historic and successful year for ANOC and the world’s NOCs.

It was the year which saw the first ever ANOC World Beach Games take place in Qatar; a Games designed to benefit the NOCs and their athletes.

Set against a backdrop of the beautiful beaches of Katara Cultural Village and the world-class facilities of Aspire and the Gharafa Sports Complex, the Games fused elite sport with a fun and low-budget global multi-sport concept to create an exciting and inclusive celebration. The ANOC World Beach Games was truly global, attracting more than 1,200 world-class athletes from a total of 97 NOCs from all five continents. The world’s best athletes thrilled a global audience as they competed across an exciting mix of 14 youth-centred beach, water and action disciplines.

Qatar was a fantastic host and after six-days of breathtaking action, almost half of the participating NOCs won medals, with athletes from an impressive 40 NOCs taking to the podium. Through our partnership with the Olympic Channel we created a global platform that helped create new stars; but it was not just those who won medals who benefited. All NOCs had the opportunity to connect with new athletes, new sports and new fans. NOCs developed their relationships with International Federations (IFs) and National Federations (NFs) and strengthened their cooperation, which will serve to benefit the entire Olympic Movement. We would like to thank all our partners for helping us deliver a great Games.

We, as a Movement, are at our strongest when we are united and we saw that on many occasions this year. The unity of our Olympic Family was particularly apparent during the XXIV ANOC General Assembly when once again more than 1,000 delegates from 204 NOCs, the IOC, IFs, Organising Committees and other Olympic stakeholders all attended. Outside of the Olympic Games there is no other occasion when the world comes together in such numbers, united behind a common love of sport, to exchange and share ideas.

Under the leadership of IOC President Thomas Bach and the IOC, we all have a role to work together and contribute to creating a better future through sport. ANOC has worked closely with the IOC and all Olympic stakeholders this year to protect the interests of NOCs and ensure that athletes’ interests are also promoted. ANOC will continue to represent NOCs on all important Olympic Movement issues in 2020. The good work of our ANOC Commissions will also continue as we look to develop innovative ways of improving the support we provide NOCs.

2019 was also a busy year for the Continental Associations, with four of the five hosting their Continental Games following last year’s Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games. Minsk was up first, hosting the European Games in June, Samoa and Lima followed with the Pacific Games and Pan American Games in July respectively, before Rabat hosted the African Games in August. All the Continental Games were fantastic events that showcased the excellence of the world’s NOCs and their athletes. It was these moments that ANOC celebrated during our spectacular ANOC Awards 2019, which honoured the best male and female athletes from each of the Games.

It was a busy and successful year, but as is the way in sport, there is always something new to look forward to and next year promises to be an outstanding Olympic year.

In just over a week we will have the pleasure of watching the future stars of winter sport as the Olympic Capital, Lausanne, hosts the Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG). It will be the third edition of the event and will see more than 70 NOCs take part, including many for the first time, demonstrating the growing popularity of winter sport. The YOG not only provides an opportunity for NOCs to develop their future Olympians but also provides these young athletes with vital experience and education.

Of course, six months later it will be the main event as Tokyo hosts the Olympic Games. With some qualification spots still up for grabs the next six months will see fierce competition for those final places. NOCs have been working tirelessly to support their athletes over the last four years for these Games and with the end in sight I wish everyone the very best of luck. I have no doubt that Tokyo will host a fantastic Games which will provide the perfect environment for NOCs and their athletes to compete.

But the Olympic Games is about more than sport and as much as we can look forward to seeing new records broken in Tokyo and athletes pushing the boundaries of human performance, we can equally look forward to acts of sportsmanship, displays of respect and demonstrations of the power of sport to unite people and nations.

So, I wish you all the best for a successful sporting year in 2020, in whatever form that success takes.

Robin Mitchell
Acting ANOC President

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