With her term coming to an end during the forum, outgoing ONOC AC Chair, Karo Lelai (PNG), hailed the progress of athlete representatives on the continent since the last forum, in 2019.
“At the 2019 forum, athletes put forward a set of 15 recommendations to be pursued over the next four years, with a biennial forum at mid-term. Despite the coronavirus pandemic the following year halting the world until last year, and in some places this year too, there is much that has been accomplished.”
And with Karo’s term ending, Ken Wallace (AUS) is to act as Interim ONOC AC Chair.
Across the three days of the 2022 forum, athlete representatives discussed in detail how they could make their ACs even more effective, what types of projects and activities they could run for their athletes, how to access dedicated funding such as the NOC AC Activity Grant, and the basics of AC governance. The discussions were rounded off with a communications training session. ONOC President Dr Robin Mitchell also attended the forum to support and inspire athlete representatives from across the continent.
HELPING ONE ANOTHER
Every participant at the forum used the opportunity to work with their neighbours and learn how other NOC ACs are helping their athletes. This was the highlight of the forum for Sione Vainikolo, representing the Tonga AC.
“It’s important to be able to find out how to tackle those weaknesses and who you have to ask for help. Today has been very useful for us, and we know where to start when we get back home.”
TURNING PLANS INTO REALITY
One of the main priorities that AC representatives left the forum with was completing individual AC action plans.
“It’s easy enough to create a plan and say you’re going to do these amazing things,” said Kirsten Fisher-Marsters OLY, a representative from the Cook Islands AC, “but to actually sit down and go, ‘Yes, I’m going to take this step, this step and this step to make them happen’… I think that’s where this has really been beneficial.”
Participants were informed of how Olympic Solidarity funding can strengthen ACs and their activities for athletes through the NOC AC Activity Grant of USD 10,000, which can be used to benefit each and every NOC AC around the world. An additional annual grant of FJD 2,000 from ONOC is also available for all Oceania ACs to support their athlete-centred activities.
Your NOC AC can benefit from the yearly USD 10,000 grant, as well as the ONOC annual grant of FJD 2,000 if your NOC AC is in Oceania. Reach out to your NOC to discuss the application process together.
Article adapted from Athlete 365.