Exclusive: I will continue to help triathlon grow if re-elected, promises ITU President Casado
Friday, 12 October 2012
October 12 - Marisol Casado, the International Triathlon Union (ITU) President, has promised she will continue to put all her efforts into helping the sport grow if she is re-elected to the head of the world governing body later this month.
The 56-year-old from Spain, who succeeded Les McDonald as the ITU President in 2008, will be challenged for the role by South Korea's Yu Kyung-sun at the 25th ITU Congress in Auckland on October 23.
But Casado is favourite to retain the role following an impressive four years' in office that saw her lead triathlon to arguably its most successful Olympic appearance ever at London 2012, where Switzerland's Nicola Spirig won the women's race in a photo-finish and Britain's Alistair Brownlee took the men's event before a crowd of more than a million spectators.
"I want to stress my total devotion to the ITU and helping triathlon grow as a sport across the world," Casado told insidethegames.
"In the last four years as President, I have spent 100 per cent of my time working for the ITU and I will continue to work my hardest over the next four years to help triathlon grow further if I am re-elected.
"In the last four years, we have seen amazing progress in our sport.
"We have seen more exposure around the world through media and advertising, we have seen the inclusion of our sport at the Paralympics for Rio 2016 and we have seen huge success at London 2012, where triathlon proved one of the most popular sports of the entire Games.
"But I feel that despite the huge success of the ITU in the last four years, this is not enough time and I feel I need another four years to continue to push to help the sport grow."
Casado highlighted her International Olympic Committee (IOC) membership, which she gained in 2010, as something that is of key importance to the ITU.
Casado has proved a popular edition to the IOC over the last two years and is widely viewed as one of the organisation's rising stars.
"Becoming an IOC member is something that I am very proud of and it is very important for the ITU," she said.
"It helps triathlon establish itself further in the Olympic Movement and obviously one of the big things I would like to do is to get Mixed Triathlon Relay included in the Olympic Games for Rio.
"Obviously it helps in lobbying for that as an IOC member because you can knock on the door from the inside rather than the outside."
Casado, who hosts a post graduate degree in Sport Administration and Management, also countered claims from her Presidency rival Yu that the ITU has major financial worries.
Yu, the current ITU vice-president, claimed the organisation has accumulated a deficit of $6.8 million (£4.3 million/€5.3million) during the last four years and said the organisation is on an "unsustainable course that leads to catastrophe", but Casado has claimed he is simply wrong.
"I have nothing at all against Mr Yu but what he says about the ITU finances is completely wrong," she said.
"We have $12 million (£7 million/€9 million) surplus and Mr Yu has perhaps not spent enough time looking properly at the ITU accounts.
"We have obviously invested a lot of money we have got from the IOC back into the sport to help it grow but even with all of our investments, we still have money in the bank and plenty of reserves.
"So to say that we have big financial problems is just not true."
Casado added that she has been delighted to help establish the ITU as a respected International Federation in the last four years and hopes she can continue to increase its profile.
"I think now, we are truly respected by other International Federations which perhaps wasn't the case in the past," she said.
"We are growing in a positive sense and growing in terms of organisation and that is something we can continue on.
"We have achieved great things, like getting triathlon into the Paralympics in Rio in 2016 and one of the big challenges over the next four years will be getting ready for that.
"It is not an easy task, in fact we face many difficult tasks over the next four years.
"But I welcome difficult challenges and the ITU is ready for difficult challenges so that we can improve even more as we go forward.
"That is my goal."