Francesco Ricci Bitti (ATR)
(ATR) The president of the International Tennis Federation has completed his first year as head of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations.
Well-liked and respected, he has been forthcoming in his opinions to grow the influence of ASOIF in the Olympic Movement.
The Italian led the chorus of disapproval at the decision of the IOC’s ruling board to remove wrestling from the core Olympic program in February and was critical of the sports bidding process that led to wrestling being saved from the Olympic chop.
Ricci Bitti is calling for a different process to be used to address program changes in the future.
He advocates a creative approach involving the introduction of new events and disciplines, rather than sports being dropped and replaced by other sports. IOC president Thomas Bach will welcome his views, as he orchestrates some key changes to the sports program over the next year – one of his manifesto pledges.
Wearing his Rio 2016 coordination commission hat, the ASOIF president has his work cut out in the year ahead as delays continue to dog the city’s Olympic preparations. He will seek a significant acceleration in venue construction plans, schedules, and timings for the 28 sports he represents.
Development of permanent and temporary venues and infrastructure at the Deodoro Zone, the second Olympic hub where eight sports will be staged, are of particular concern.
In 2011, the 71-year-old was re-elected as head of the ITF for a fourth term (2011-15).
2013 ranking: 13
Reported by Mark Bisson
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