With the entries for the 2016 World Outdoor Championships in Malmö, Sweden, having just closed, it is with great pleasure that we can confirm that this is the largest entry in the history of TWIF championships with the most countries that will have ever participated in a World Outdoor Championships. A total of 27 countries entered, some for the first time and a few others after an absence of a number of years.
All that we can say is welcome and welcome back!
This augers well for the future of TWIF and the tug of war sport expanding its footprint internationally. With continued hard work at all levels of administration and sports development, it is our joint responsibility to ensure that this momentum is not only maintained, but accelerated as we collectively work towards re-admission to the Olympics programme, our ultimate objective.
With new 5 sports (baseball/softball, karate, skateboard, sports climbing and surfing) having just been admitted by the IOC for inclusion in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, the opportunity is available for a similar achievement for tug of war in future Games. We have learnt a lot from the application process for Tokyo. The focus is on performance, attractiveness of the sport and appeal, especially to the youth and both men and women, as key attributes that is being looked for. We were unsuccessful this time arounds, but we will diligently continue working towards achieving our objective in this regard.
Having an official women U23 event for the first time, and growth in the popularity of the 4X4 mixed weight class, we have some key stepping stones in the right direction. For now, it is however up to our athletes, officials and the organisers of the event, to perform at a very high standard both on and off the competition arena. We are being watched from outside and it is up to every one of us to constructively contribute towards the bigger picture. Let’s ensure that we are not found wanting and being too “light” in our contest with other sports, all having similar ambitions.
I wish everybody safe travels to Sweden. See you soon and good luck to all with the final preparations.
I look forward to a great championship. It will certainly be a historic one given the number of participating countries.