Kari Marklund is Checking out…
Date: January 18, 2015
This weekend, Kari Marklund, hung up his jacket (or passed it on – see http://www.pajulahtigames.fi/index.php?page=news_goa for more information), however he is not departing without some final words. We invite you all to read his final letter here below.
Thank you Kari for your final words. Your wisdom and guidance will be missed.
Finally, it’s time to check out after 60 years of leadership in sports. It all started back in 1955 when I was almost 17 years of age. Supported by my athletics teacher at school, I attended a coaching clinic in basketball. The diploma from that clinic is something I treasure. Later on, I qualified as a national basketball referee. It was many years later that I realised I was not only a sports coach, because I was also able to apply those same skills in my professional career.
In June 2011, having just retired from sport for the second time, I was asked by Jannie Hammershoi if I could help IBSA by taking on the mantle of IBSA Goalball Chairman. After some contemplation I answered yes. I was formally appointed on 25th July. We hit the ground running and had our first IBSA Goalball committee meeting on 6th August 2011.
I would like to thank Jannie Hammershoi, Neil O´Donovan, Torsten Karlsson, Robert t´Hart and Rikka Juntunen for their recommendations regarding positions on the new Goalball committee. We made a flying start, which was essential because London 2012 Paralympic Games were only one year away.
From the outset, I was determined to create an atmosphere of openness, where all stakeholders in the Goalball family could have a voice. Gender balance is an important principle which was reflected in the choice of people on the committee. I wanted to build a team of individuals with different skills, experience and backgrounds. It is impossible to win a football match with eleven goalkeepers. One needs all-round knowledge to make the best decisions. Deep knowledge is founded on quality experiences. Experience gained in another sport – basketball – has been of value to me in many different fields.
A good cook will tell you that, apart from quality ingredients, the best meals have a mix of creativity, commitment and practice. I was so fortunate to have a dedicated team of ”players” at my disposal, all highly-experienced, passionate and knowledgeable colleagues steeped in the tradition of Goalball, and prepared to work selflessly on behalf of IBSA Goalball to nurture and develop the sport they love. The right mix of different international flavours is key to a final elegant Goalball dish. Of course, careful planning, testing, reviewing, open communication and a little bit of luck can help….
On the Goalball committee there have been – and still are – individuals with a passion for Goalball. I must thank especially Robert t´Hart (retired), Kari Räsänen, Aurora Zanolin, John Potts and Jo Ruba. Passion combined with commitment and focus, leads to results. Boris Samuelsson and Robert Crestani have done an outstanding job in modernising the Goalball rules and regulations; Martin Enggaard´s regular contact with active players has been of great value. I would like to thank Hans Sundström (retired), Christl Daentler, Janice Dawson, Alexander Bankole Williams and Chin Yee Tee. They have all been excellent team players who made a real difference.
The clear committment of the Swedish Sport Federation for the Disabled and the Swedish Paralympic Committee to support my work has been essential.
I must also acknowledge the friendly but professional help, advice and encouragement received from Xavier Gonzalez (IPC CEO) and Jürgen Padberg (IPC Paralympic Games Manager).
Keller (1880-1968) was a deaf-blind lady who was an inspiration to millions of people around the world. I am moved by the simplicity and depth of her words below:
Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much
I trust in people, particularly those willing to place the team before the individual.
IBSA Goalball has a key role to play in the development of the sport of Goalball; however, on its own, IBSA cannot be the guarantor of success; Goalball development starts in clubs and is promoted by NPCs and National Blind Sports Federations. We must recognise this development structure and ensure that IBSA Goalball supports all levels within that structure.
I thank all the people I have met from so many different countries, Goalball players, coaches, leaders, referees with whom I have enjoyed many fascinating discussions and meetings. It was a privilege for me to have had the good fortune of meeting you all as together we strived to take Goalball to new heights.
My direct involvement in the management of Goalball may be at an end; however, my deep interest in the sport will remain – Goalball is a benign virus with no antidote.
Finally, I think this aphorism makes perfect sense:
Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter!