REGATTA OnLine - News and Features
News and Features
Issue 100 - Centenary July 1997
1987-2007: Highs, Lows & Hopes
By Denis Oswald, President, FISA
When I started as President of FISA about eight years ago, I established a
strategic plan, setting the goals FISA should try to reach in the following
years. This plan was approved by the Council and the Congress in 1990,
published in FISA Info 1/1991 and can be used to measure what has been
achieved and what still needs working on. I have divided the important items
into 'highs' - those substantially satisfactory, and 'lows', which are those
in which we have underperformed.
- The number of affiliated countries has grown from 67 to 103 with real
growing activity in the new federations.
- Introduction of lightweight events in the Olympic programme with a
motivation for a much larger portion of the sport population in the
world to be interested in rowing and especially a big boost for our
sport in some countries and continents where most people are small and
- Collection of second-hand boats, development programme and improvement
in the level of the rowers on various continents.
- Inclusion of rowing in most multisport games and competitions (but
entailing a lot of effort).
- Improvement in the quality of the television coverage (where we have
coverage at all).
- New ways of working within the Council and commissions with a sharing of
responsibilities and more contributions from the members. Very
joint meetings of the commissions.
- Improvement of communication with member federations and the public
through circulars, messages, FISA Info, FISA News, World Rowing etc.
- Appointment of 'rowing people' in important positions in national and
international sports organisations.
- Maintenance of the basic values of our sport in spite of a lot of
in sport and in rowing.
- Lack of universality. This problem will only be overcome if we increase
the number of countries practising the sport as well as the number of
rowers outside the traditional countries and get more participating in
World Championships, the Olympic Games and regional games.
- Conservatism, lack of vision and creativity, resistance to new ideas and
priority for national interest rather than general interest of rowing
a large number of delegates and federations.
The image of rowing is still very good. We have the ultimate and noblest
sport, wonderful athletes and the reputation of being one of the best
managed sports. But this is not enough in the current world. If we do not make
progress, we will regress while everything else moves forward and as we face
greater competition from other sports. The cake has a certain size which is
extendable indefinitely, and we must be sure that our slice at least maintains
its portion. We are determined to work hard to achieve that.
- Reduction of the cost of equipment.
- More media and television attention.
- Sponsorship to provide the funding to improve the level of our
competitions, to help rowers from all over the world participate in our
various events, and to support our development programme.
- Make rowing simpler and easier to understand for the public and more
attractive to young athletes about to take up a sport.
- It is well known that rowers are looking backwards and the past is
certainly important to build the future. Therefore, for the next 10
we should work to keep and consolidate what has been achieved and work
harder in the fields where we have not hit the target.
- In my opinion, the most important challenge that we are facing is to
increase the universality of our sport, because it is the only way to
reach some of our goals like keeping our Olympic status, being part of
regional games, getting sponsors, etc., and because this can only be
achieved if we succeed in a number of fields where we have not yet been
totally successful, such as reducing the gap in the level of
between the traditional and the new countries, reducing the amount of
equipment, having a better and broader media, and recruiting sponsors.
© Copyright D. Oswald, 1997.
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