Sebastian Coe and Sergey Bubka, effectively on the campaign trail ahead of this summer’s Presidential election within the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), have offered their latest election promises while attending the Oceania Area Athletics Championships in Cairns, Australia.
Coe has pledged to create an IAAF Youth Communications and Marketing Division “to help the sport connect more effectively with young people”, while Bubka has stated his belief that providing synthetic tracks and greater financial support for every national athletics federation should be a key IAAF strategy.
Bubka, chair of the IAAF Development Commission, says a lot has been done to create opportunities for athletics in the Oceania region, but the world governing body should use a more global approach.
The former Olympic pole vault champion said: “Every National Federation should have a modern synthetic track and equipment.
"There can be no compromise about that.
"I speak a lot with my colleagues from National Federations who tell me how many kids are eager to go into athletics - but they can’t develop practicing at an archaic cinder track.
"We can and have to give them better opportunities.
“It is obvious now that we need to increase IAAF grants for National Federations in the near future.
"Local activity is key to the future of our sport.
"National Federations need financial support for promotion and development of the sport.
"I know from my experience that National Federations can’t achieve success without proper administration, so my proposal is to use the increased grants to hire paid staff for every Federation.
“We should also work out individual strategic plans for the development for every National Federation who needs it - and support them in the process of implementing the plans.
"I see this cooperation as a part of the social mission of athletics and the IAAF.”
Coe’s proposed Division would report directly to the IAAF President to ensure that IAAF events are presented in the most relevant and engaging way possible to excite and draw in younger audiences.
An early task for the new Division would be to create a formal relationship with a world-leading organisation experienced in social and digital media.
“Young people are the future of our sport and it is critical that the IAAF has a clear focus on connecting with them and to make athletics as attractive as possible to as many youngsters as possible,” said Coe.
“This will be the focus of a newly formed IAAF Youth Communications and Marketing Division if I am elected President.
“As well as advising on how best to drive youth engagement, this new Division would help to ensure that IAAF events are created and presented in the most relevant and engaging way possible to excite and draw in younger audiences.
“It will be important also that the IAAF Youth Division puts in place a formal relationship with a world-leading corporation or brand with cutting edge experience in digital and social media.
“My approach is simple - we need to utilise the very best brains and be across the latest trends so that we can put in place a new approach to engage with young people, wherever they live in the world, and empower them to help shape and deliver our core narrative.”
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