2nd FINA World Aquatics Convention opens magnificently

Gold Medal Clinic

Dr. Julio MaglioneOctober 30, 2012 MOSCOW - The 2nd FINA World Aquatics Convention opened in Moscow, Russia. This new FINA event, organised in a non-competition environment and the only of this calibre on the international aquatics calendar, offers a unique opportunity for the Aquatics community - the FINA Family, National Federations, partners, manufacturers, athletes and coaches, bidders and organisers of FINA events, media etc. - to work together to make FINA's sports bigger.  

Earlier in the day, the 1st FINA Gold Medal Swimming Coaches Clinic concluded successfully, with a second set of presentations made by successful coaches who shared their winning strategies with fellow coaches from all continents: Dirk Lange (GER), coach of Cameron van der Burgh, Olympic champion in the men's 100m breastroke, who was followed by Ferenc Kovacshegyi from Hungary, coach of Eva Risztov, gold medallist in the women's 10km marathon race at the London Games. American Yuri Sugiyama, who coached Katie Ledecky to Olympic success in the women's 800m freestyle, concluded the morning session. In the afternnon, Frank Busch, USA Swimming's National Team Director and Member of the FINA Coaches Commission, closed the clinic.

After the last presentation, a press conference was held, during which FINA Executive Director Mr. Marculescu summarised the main take-aways of the 1st Gold Medal clinic: coaching is also the “Art of Coaching”; there is no substitute for hard work; quality is worth more than quantity; find the right balance between hard work and recovery; athletes also have a life outside the pool; variety is key in getting motivation for training; multidisciplinary teams around swimmers are helpful, but not strictly necessary; when training, there is no special status for Olympic champion; and last but not least, the key to success is trust between a coach and his swimmer.

FINA President Dr. Julio C. Maglione also added: "If you had the occasion to follow the discussions at the Clinic or if you will report on the Convention activities during the next couple of days, you will certainly understand why we often underline that FINA is a great Sport, a Sport for Life, being one of the pillars of the Olympic programme."

In the evening, the 2nd FINA World Aquatics Convention officially opened with the addresses of Vitaly Mutko, Minister of Sports of the Russian Federation, Alexey Vorobyev, Chief of Moscow Sports Department, Ilsur Mechtin, Mayor of Kazan, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al Sabah, President of the Association of National Olympic Committees and FINA President Dr. Julio. C. Maglione.


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Vitaly Mutko, Minister of Sports of the Russian Federation, Alexey Vorobyev, Chief of Moscow Sports Department, Ilsur Mechtin,
Mayor of Kazan, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al Sabah, President of the Association of National Olympic Committees and
FINA President Dr. Julio. C. Maglione - credit: Giorgio Scala

During his speech, the FINA President reminded the fundamental reason of the international federation's existence: "This constitutes precisely the first goal of this Convention: to provide development tools to our Federations, a strategy that I consider essential for the future progress, strength and image of our national bodies."

The opening was followed by the first workshop on the theme "Aquatics Sports: Bringing legacy to society", with FINA Vice President Husain Al-Musallam as moderator. Wilfried Lemke, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General of the United Nations on Sport for Development and Peace, was the first to speak.

FINA President Maglione had earlier informed that "FINA, in co-operation with the United Nations and UNESCO are looking on developing a new programme for 'Sport for All', based in the diversity of the aquatic sports and with the objective that as many people as possible learn swimming worldwide for the benefit of mankind."

After explaining the UN's vision of "Sport for All", Lemke concluded: "The water is your world and let us try to let them swim!" 

The second speaker was Pere Miro,  Director of IOC Solidarity on the "Impact of the Olympic Solidarity Programme through Participation by Aquatic Athletes who were granted IOC Scholarships". Miro detailed the cooperation between FINA and Olympic Solidarity in the last years for the organisation of assistance to NOCs, in particular those with the greatest need. The assistance has four targets: athletes, coaches, administrators and to develop Olympic values.

"We are very happy with the work we've achieved with FINA. Swimming, and Aquatics in general, have gotten a big part of the investment. Thanks to this cooperation, National Federations, NOCs, IOC Solidarity and FINA have been able to give USD 5 millions for the benefit of the Sport in the last quadrennial term (2009-2012)," said Miro.

Frank Busch also concluded the first workshop of the Convention with a speech on USA Swimming: "The success of the 2012 Olympics brought credibility to our Sport. With his 22 Olympic medals, Michael Phelps has brought the Sport to a whole new level and I congratulate FINA for the building of our Sport on the world level."


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Wilfried Lemke, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General of the United Nations
on Sport for Development and Peace - credit: Giorgio Scala