IOC Athletes Commission Vice-Chair Danka Bartekova (ATR)
(ATR) Nine recommendations from athletes covering Athletes Commission funding, the fight against doping, the recently approved Athletes’ Declaration and various support programs are headed to the IOC executive board.
The recommendations were drafted over two days of dialogue and debate among some 350 athletes representatives from 185 NOCs at the International Athletes Forum in Lausanne.
Danka Bartekova, vice-chair of the IOC Athletes Commission and a two-time Olympic skeet shooter for Slovakia, presided over the forum in the absence of chair Kirsty Coventry, who is due to give birth in the coming weeks.
Perhaps the most noteworthy recommendation is a request for up to $10 million in direct funding per Olympiad be provided to Continental and NOC Athletes’ Commissions. Subject to approval by the IOC EB, the proposal for subsidies of up to $10,000 per commission, per year, could be available to NOCs.
“One of the biggest achievements through these recommendations is the ask for $10 million in increased funding for an effective network of athletes commissions,” Bartekova said, on a conference call with reporters on Monday.
“The president is on board and has promised us his support,” Bartekova said of IOC President Thomas Bach, who addressed and interacted with athletes during all three days of the forum.
Funding could be available to the NOC Athletes Commissions and Continental Athletes Commissions.
“They will be able to apply for grants or funding for up to $10,000 per year, which is a great help because what came out of the break-out sessions is that this support is really needed,” Bartekova explained.
International Athletes Forum in Lausanne (IOC/Greg Martin)
“In terms of International Federations, I believe the biggest achievement is to start a discussion on how the IOC can really provide support to the Athletes Commission there as well,” said the Slovak shooter.
Coventry, a seven-time Olympic swimming medalist and the minister of sports, arts and recreation for her native Zimbabwe, joined the forum via teleconference on a few occasions.
Coventry said she believes the greatest challenges facing athletes and Athletes Commissions moving forward are mental health issues, how to strengthen athlete representation and education around anti-doping.
She said obtaining approval for the recommendations from the IOC EB continues the process of providing athletes with stronger influence in Olympic decision-making.
“It’s up to us to continue pushing and taking it forward to the executive board and also stay connected with this group of athletes who are our representatives,” Coventry said.
The recommendations were approved by a declaration of hands, upon the closing of Sunday’s second day of the forum.
The nine recommendations are:
--To strengthen athletes’ representatives
--To strengthen the solidarity funding model
--To strengthen direct financial support for NOC Athletes’ Commissions
--To strengthen the support for career transition
--To strengthen the protection of clean athletes and the fight against doping
--To focus on athletes’ mental health
--Support for the Athletes’ Declaration
--To invite athletes to be ambassadors for the Olympic Movement
--To foster engagement and communication among the Athletes’ Commissions’ network
“The next step is to bring them forward to the executive board and start implementing them in real life,” Bartekova said of ratifying the recommendations.
The final day of the three-day International Athletes Forum – the largest ever among nine editions - coincides with the launch of the World Olympians Forum. President Bach is expected to address athletes one final time during a Monday evening cocktail party.
Written and reported by Brian Pinelli in Lausanne
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