Head of FINA Communications Department Pedro Adrega speaking during the 83rd AIPS Congress in Budapest. (Photo by Carlo Pozzoni/AIPS Media)
Giaconda Sene AIPS Young Reporter - Senegal
BUDAPEST, February 4, 2020 - As one of the biggest international gatherings of sports journalists from over 100 countries, the AIPS Congress prides itself on attracting sports administrators and decision-makers across different international sports federations (Olympic and non-Olympic) to deliver presentations on their activities and, in some cases, answer crucial questions about the sport they govern.
At the 83rd AIPS Congress in Budapest, FINA head of communications department Pedro Adrega shared some facts and figures to highlight some innovations that have aided the development of swimming.
“FINA is organizing the Champions Swim Series event in order to provide an additional opportunity for our stars to gather in a very competitive field. The series incorporated many innovations. It is an invitation-only event, with direct finals of four swimmers only, very attractive prize money,” Adrega explained.
“For the two legs held in Shenzhen and Beijing in January 2020 in China, over 1.8 million US$ was paid; original sports presentation and entertainment show for the spectator inside,” according to him.
Andrea also highlighted the increase in the number of medals at FINA. “49 medals in aquatics, 35 finals in swimming, in diving 8, 2 in artistic swimming, 2 in water polo and 2 in marathon swimming to be competed for by a total of 1410 athletes at the Tokyo Games. This improvement in the number of medals - we had 46 in Rio 2016 - is due to the increase in the swimming program. Three new races are now on the program: Men 100 free, Women’s 300 free and Medley 4x100 relay,” he stated.
FINA is not only investing in the competitive field. It also has a very strong development program called Swimming For All, Swimming For Life, which is aimed at reducing the alarming rate of drowning around the world. “For your information, over 360 000 lives are lost every year due to drowning. It’s about four planes that are crashing every day. FINA has the social responsibility of doing something on this matter because as we often say, swimming is actually the sport that can save lives,” Adrega said.
Another sports organization that also wants to fulfill its social responsibility towards its athletes is FISU. During his presentation, FISU Secretary General Eric Saintrond announced the Healthy Campus project. Its pilot phase will be launched in May. “This program aims to cater to the students’ wellbeing in all aspects; physical activity, nutrition, mental health, disease prevention, risky behaviors, environment, and sustainability,” Saintrond said. “The statistics prove that in 2025, we will have more than 260 million students in higher education in the world. And it’s the social responsibility of FISU to pay attention to the student-athletes because most of them are top athletes,” he added. For its pilot phase, the program will be implemented in seven universities around the world and will be expanded to other universities in September.
FISU unveiled its new logo early last month in view of a dynamic future for university sports. For the new era, the federation officially adopted a new naming system for its flagship sports events as the winter and summer Universiades are now known as the World University Games. Saintrond explained the change. “In many countries, like Brazil in South America and eastern countries, they use Universiades for national events. For the recognition of the event sometime, even in most of the countries they already use world university Games because it’s more understandable,” he defended.
EHF As far as EHF is a concern, its challenge is making the handball much more worldwide. “Handball is the major sport in a lot of countries, mainly in Europe and not so much worldwide and what we want to do is to bring handball to more people than see it is at the moment,” Senior Manager of Business Development and Marketing Department JJ Rowland said during his presentation at the AIPS Congress.
To do so, the EHF will focus on making its image to be more attractive. “We are looking closely to our brand over the last two years and creating a new brand, basically looking at who we are, which direction we are going, how we want to be perceived by people and also on the basis of this brand developing new brand asset, logos for our new competitions,” he said, announcing the new contract they have with a major sport agency from July 2020.
The other aspect of the EHF strategy to be more popular specially among young people is digital communication. “in lot of sport the age demographic of the fans is getting older. So we want to focus on attracting new younger fans to handball through our new digital marketing team, which will be based