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President’s blog: A voice for the athletes

Date: July 17, 2023

Category: General

I believe the new IBSA Athletes’ Council is a promising step towards including our athletes in IBSA’s governance and decision-making

Both members and athletes have been wishing for an athletes’ council for some time, and I am proud to be responsible for the task force that has work for the establishment of the IBSA Athletes’ Council. This has been paramount to the Executive Board, as we want to include all IBSA athletes and have input and opinions of those that we are all here for.

That’s why it was decided – as one of the Board’s first decisions – to let a working group, consisting of Sally Wood-Lamont, General Secretary, Pedro Figueiredo, communications officer and with experience from a similar process in Goalball, as well as myself, as a member-at-large and having worked on the project since 2020, look into an efficient and quick establishment of our new Athletes’ Council – with fair and transparent elections at the core. I want to thank the members of the working group, everyone involved in the process and for both praise and constructive criticism given so far.

The biggest event, where all IBSA’s sports are represented, is the IBSA World Games, and I am happy that it has been possible to work fast enough to ensure that elections will be held in Birmingham. We have been inspired by the IPC’s Athletes’ Council, and both the working group and Executive Board have been working hard to fulfill the promise of an Athletes’ Council, which was given in Fatima.

Important first steps

The current model for holding elections is an important first step towards including athletes in the governance of our federation. It is not yet perfect however, and we hope that it, in the future, will be possible to have even more athletes vote, for instance online. Taking time into account, this has not been possible after the new Executive Board was elected.

I believe that it is more important for us to include the voice of the athletes here and now, and improve our model election by election, than to wait four more years before anything can be done.

Mads Baulund
IBSA Member-at-Large

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