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April 6 was declared as the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP) by the UN General Assembly in 2013, creating a historical link to the first modern Olympic Games in 1896.
This decision represented a significant step in recognizing the transformative power of sport and its great potential in advancing positive social change.
Due to its vast reach, unparalleled popularity and foundation of positive values, sport is ideally positioned to contribute towards the Sustainable Development Goals.
Ever since its creation, many organizations and individuals have celebrated on this day the role that sport plays in society and its power to foster dialogue, understanding, social inclusion and peace.
April6 is a celebration of the work being carried out every day by sport organizations, athletes, coaches and NGOs that play a fundamental role by transmitting the educational values of sport to people of all ages throughout the world.
In the current circumstances, April6 provides the opportunity to highlight the unique power of sport in supporting people and communities to overcome the challenges imposed by the pandemic.
As a reference to the yellow and the red card in the sporting world, since 2014 a #WhiteCard is a symbol, created by the organization Peace and Sport, representing the positive power of sport for peace and social inclusion.
Every year, through the #WhiteCard campaign, Peace and Sport mobilizes the sports world as well as governments and civil society to celebrate the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace.
The core message of the 2021 #WhiteCard campaign is “Behind each #WhiteCard, there is a story”. It seeks to highlight and draw attention to the stories of individuals and communities who have been positively impacted by sport all around the globe.
Through a #WhiteCard, each of us can advocate on the unique power of sport for social development and peace, and share a story on how sport supported us to overcome challenges.
To participate, take a picture of yourself while holding a white card, register your story on the www.April6.org platform and share it on all your social networks using the hashtag #WhiteCard and the tags @peaceandsport and @worldrafting.
Francesco Ricci Bitti is a former tennis player, engineer and sports administrator from Bologna, Italy.
He is President of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF).
He is also a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Coordination Commission for Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024, and held the same position for Rio 2016.
Ricci Bitti is a member of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Executive Committee and Foundation Board, as well as a member of the SportAccord Convention, where he served as President from 2015 to 2017. He is Honorary Life President of the International Tennis Federation (ITF), having acted as President from 1999 to 2015. From 2006 to 2012, he served as IOC Member and Executive Board member of the National Olympic Committee of Italy (CONI).
Following the interview to Mr. Ferriani, President of the Association of International Olympic Winter Sports Federations (AIOWF) on the basis of Good Governance and the current worldwide situation, where “We have to be chameleons, not dinosaurs”, we asked to Mr Ricci Bitti to share his opinion with WRF.
Mr Ricci Bitti, what is the Good Governance and why is this term widely used at the moment?
As a pioneer of Good Governance in sport, I would like to stress the fact that this term is quite fashionable over the last period and sometimes it is improperly interpreted.
Governance basically represents the quality of the management system and the appropriateness of the organisations whenever they need to respond to the specific needs regarding structure and dynamics of the organisation itself. A peculiar term that stands for Governance is accountability.
Good Governance, that has its origins in the business field, is a latecomer to the sports world. The main reasons seem clear:The growing importance of sport in the society and the consequent media coverage; The well-deserved preservation of the traditional operational autonomy of sport; The protection of sports operators, who are often volunteers, in this increasingly complex picture of sports world.
I am very pleased and motivated by the fact that the ASOIF project is already at its “fourth round” and is recognised by international public authorities: it is a concrete example of the development of Good Governance and a stimulating factor for the international federations that commit to comply with standards of excellence.
What is the first teaching that the Covid-19 outbreak reminded you?
And, after a year of adaptation and “forced cohabitation” with the Pandemic, what is the last?
The first important thing I learnt, or remembered, is that health and, therefore, environmental sustainability, must get the top priority in the attention of society, especially among young people.
On the other hand, the latest teaching for me is that Covid-19 accelerates all the worldwide societies trends; at the same time, as every negative phenomenon, it offers the chance to bring real innovations in every organisation, including the sports world. The two priorities from the perspective of the international federations are the revision and the consolidation of the calendar of the main competitions and the development of a digital strategy, improving the corresponding virtual involvement of every discipline. There is a dual objective: to get in touch with the young fans and eventually create a new source of income to reinvest in the sport movement.
With regard to integration instead, what do you think about the 2+2 format of the Para-Rafting teams? And about the mix category of the RX, with two women and two men who can choose their position on the raft according to their peculiar strength and technique?
In the current period Gender Equality and integration of the Paralympic activities are priorities in the sports world; therefore I find the disciplines with mixed teams an absolute current and brilliant idea. The search for formats more attractive to athletes, broadcasters, live and virtual spectators and is also remarkable and in common with every sport that want to grow. It is a great starting point.
The Indian Rafting Foundation, founded by India’s rafting trailblazer Shaukat Sikand, held the 14th National Rafting Championship on the river Sutlej in Himachal Pradesh from 23 to 27th March 2021. The event, attended by Mr Divesh Kumar (IAS), Secretary Tourism from Himachal Pradesh, also selected two teams who will carry the Indian flag in France at the World Championships.
Four teams from the Indian Army, three from BSF including a women’s team joined teams from Himachal, Arunachal, Punjab and Jammu for four days of exhilarating races overseen by WRF accredited judges of the Indian Rafting Foundation. The Indian Rafting Foundation judges, trained by WRF Chief Judge Stefan Purjakov, came from Jammu, Arunachal, Kashmir, Goa, Delhi, Telangana and included the Secretary General Ahsan Ul Bandey as well as the Chief Judge Sushil K Sharma.
The Indian Army teams led by the coach Col Sachin Nikam stood out in the male category with their preparedness and team effort: despite the third place in the RX, the two golds of Slalom and Downriver guaranteed the overall victory to the Indian Army team; Mr Devaiah KN, Mr Joga Singh, Mr Hansraj, Mr Samy Murugan and Mr Sreejith KS (reserve) will be the first team representing India in France next June.
Indian Army team
The second team got a ticket to the world championships and is from the Army too, Army Adventure Wing: Mr Ravi DR, Mr Arul Kunar G, Mr J Pothanna, Mr Rajkumar Karki and Mr Rajinder Aher (Reserve) took the overall silver, with a second place in every discipline.
The third step of the podium went to Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports (ABVIMAS) from Manali.
Two women teams participated: BSF finishing first, followed by ABVIMAS.
Women winning team BSF
Therefore two teams already have their “tickets” to France, but four other will follow: 2 women and 2 mix teams will be selected soon, paddling in the next weeks.
Peace and Sport, the international organization based in Monaco which promotes peace using the power of sport, will join forces with the World Rafting Federation (WRF) to use rafting as a tool for social inclusion and overcoming differences.
The World Rafting Federation is an Associate Member of the International Canoe Federation (ICF) who is responsible for rafting under the umbrella of ICF. It currently has 40 members and it leads programs in South Africa, Morocco, Algeria and Egypt.
As part of the cooperation agreement, Peace and Sport and the World Rafting Federation will undertake joint sport diplomacy actions and organize initiatives to raise awareness on Sport for Development and Peace among the rafting community. As first step in the cooperation, the World Rafting Federation will take part to the upcoming worldwide celebration of the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP), on April 6. Further joint actions will be organized on the occasion of the 2021 World Rafting Federation Championship to take place from June 28 to July 3 in Argentières-Pays des Ecrins (France).
Joël Bouzou, President and Founder of Peace and Sport, declared:
“I warmly welcome this new alliance between Peace and Sport and the World Rafting Federation. In peacebuilding processes, rafting has fostered reconciliation and rehabilitation in very efficient ways. This sport naturally fosters cooperation, as it makes people face together the wilderness of white waters, and it transmits values of tolerance and inclusion; it is a tool to create bonds within and between communities. We expect that this partnership will increase the social impact of our peace-through-sport initiatives.”
“I think that peace and sport are both an input and a result for the development of the worldwide society. The values we learn from challenges and physical efforts improve not only our body conditions: they are only a starting point and a small part of what sports give us. Sport is a vehicle for respect and sharing, and I think that our team sport, in close contact with nature, has a lot to give and to learn from Your movement. I am sure this is the beginning of a great common project” said Danilo Barmaz, WRF President.
On 19th February WRF officially became a member of the International Fair Play Committee (CIFP), with the signature of the two presidents Mr Danilo Barmaz and Dr Jenő Kamuti.
CIFP is supporting and promoting Fair Play worldwide since its foundation in Paris in 1963, by UNESCO, with a special emphasis on children, adolescents and those in charge of their training.
“Sport is one of the best metaphors in life: it means experience that constantly improves and tests our behavior; fair play is a concrete attitude that we manifest in action, not in theory. I am really pleased with this new WRF membership because the aim of CIFP is entirely consistent with our purposes” declared WRF President Barmaz “Fair competition, respect, friendship, team spirit, equality, sport without doping, integrity, solidarity, tolerance, care, excellence and joy: I consider rafting an interesting sport that incorporates all the fundamental values of the Committee, so this membership represents both an accomplishment and a starting point of our grow path”
Cooperation in the spirit of fair play delivers greater results than pure gamesmanship in all walks of life.
Two objectives among the WRF purposes are to generally promote a good sporting practice and to specifically promote the practice of our sport as a a healthy and educational activity for youth. Fair play can be considered a tool that bonds the awareness of our mind and body, because through our behaviour we show the aim of our mind. Whenever we act in the spirit of fair play we contribute to building a peaceful and better world: through the tolerance and respect that we learn in the river, and from sport in general, we start to integrate peculiar dynamics, relevant into the everyday life, considering the society as a team.
The second stage of the National Rafting Championships 2021 in Costa Rica held by the Federación Costarricense de Rafting is over!
More than 10 teams clashed on 27th and 28th March on the waves of the Rio Pacuare, Costa Rica, in the three WRF disciplines: RX, Slalom and Downriver.
The winners of the female category are the Chicas del Pacuare, who confirm their leading position with another 300 points race on their home field: 600 points in total, considering the previous victory on Rio Pejibaye. Second and third place for Mambas 1 and Mambas 2.
In the men category - where the Hijos del Volcan started with 270 points from the first stage - the ranking has been overturned by the Quepos team, who won the RX and the Downriver disciplines scoring 290 points and reaching the first place in the general standings, with 544 points.
Silver medal for the team Volcano and bronze medal to the Hijos del Volcan. Other teams to follow: Horniticos, Pejibaye, Sarapiqui and Turrialba.
Considering that the winning teams will represent Costa Rica at the 2021 World Rafting and Para-Rafting Championships in France the third stage of the Champs will be decisive.
Next appointment on 24th and 25th April on the Sarapiqui river, stay tuned!
On 20th-21st March 9 teams competed for the 2021 Croatian title at the Senior National Championship in Zagreb, Donja Dubrava village, organised by the Canoe Federation on Drava river.
The overall podium reports the same results of every discipline, not without intense battles in evert field, and confirms the names for the World Rafting Championship 2021.
The winners, after fights with Slalom penalties and an intense knock out stage in the RX, retain the title: they were already selected for the international season 2021 after the victory at the last National Championship held in November 2020.
The third step of the podium goes to Rastocki Mlinari, with 240 points: A. Puškarić, E. Matković, T. Vukošić and S. Hodak.
Silver medal for Cetina Raft, with 270 points: A. Škarica, M. Budić, M. Brajić and A. Tadić.
Kanu Klub Končar
Kanu Klub Končar gets the gold, confirming their spot on the National team with 300 points: Danko Herceg, Tomislav Hohnjec, Luka Obadic and Ivan Tolic are definitely ready for France 2021.
Last weekend the agonistic season in Italy has finally begun. After the forced stop due to the Pandemic and a snowy winter all around the country, Italy gets back in the river on Vara, that hosts nearly 150 rafters in Brugnato, in the province of La Spezia, Liguria.
Para-rafting athletes were also there, some of them experienced the rapids for the first time, while others were already looking at Durance river, training for the World Champs.
RX and Downriver tested the athletes, that will earn their spot in the national teams during the official selection in May and June, but are already paddling for it.
Letizia Lauri, Elodie Lumignon, Gaia Mascarello and Carlotta Scalvino, competing as Rafting Aventure Villeneuve, won the female category with 200 points. Second place for Adda Viva Indomita Valtellina River with 180 and bronze to Sesia Rafting/Centrosportavventura with 160 points.
Rafting Aventure Villeneuve
In the male category, a second place in the downriver guaranteed a gold to the RX winners of the Sesia Rafting team: Dario Morandi, Michele Pattoglio, Francesco Regina and Giordy Sarteur scored 192 points, followed by Rafting Team Verona with 188 points and Indomita Valtellina River with 160 points.
With the eyes on France, the teams are focused on the next dates: 2 National Cups and regular agonistic meetings will decide the names that we will see at the World Champs, and all the candidates are training for that spot.