The ninth IOC Athletes’ Forum took place in Lausanne, Switzerland last week, with some 350 athletes representing 185 NOCs in attendance making it the largest in its history. Top of the list of recommendations to emerge from the forum was to strengthen athlete representation at International Federation and NOC level, something that is already central to ITU’s decision-making processes and, following the latest EB meeting, is set to be further increased and enshrined in the ITU Constitution if approved at Congress in August.
“Only positive outcomes can emerge from a meeting of over 400 people all working together to improve sport,” said ITU Executive Board Athlete Representative Tamas Toth of Hungary after attending the event. “I think the Forum answered everyone’s questions and I was delighted to be able to give advice to other organisations that are looking to rejuvenate their committees.”
At the recent meeting of the ITU Executive Board earlier this month, ongoing discussions regarding the expansion of athlete representation were put into action. The Board agreed to double the number of Athlete Representatives with voting rights to two – one male and one female – giving athletes even greater input into the decision-making process behind the sport’s governance.
“There is no mystery behind our continued belief that International Federations must listen to the people who make their sport what it is – the athletes – in order to keep pushing it forward in the most effective and pragmatic fashion,” said ITU President and IOC member Marisol Casado. “The Executive Board works in service to our sport and by extension to all our athletes, and as important as it is that ITU already has an athlete able to influence our decision-making at the highest level, bringing that number up to two, and ensuring equality in their representation, makes me hugely proud of our organisation.”
Among the other topics highlighted during the IOC Athletes’ Forum were the importance of working to help provide career transitions to elite athletes and the Athletes’ Declaration, the IOC commitment to ensure clean sport, good governance and protection from harassment and abuse, another policy recently implemented by ITU.
“Triathlon was repeatedly used during the event as a positive example for governance and was highlighted by IOC President Thomas Bach,” added Toth. “I’ve learned a lot and would fully encourage more athletes to get involved in these kinds of forums. I left with new tools to use in the future and I want to use them to develop the relationships between the Athletes Committee and competitors.”
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