President’s Blog: IPC General Assembly in Bahrain
Date: October 3, 2023
This last week saw me in Manama, Bahrain for my first IPC General Assembly as your President.
The reports and discussions ranged far and wide from a very detailed insight into the activities of President Parsons this past year to a comprehensive presentation on IPCs Classification review during the Conference on day one.
Day 2 saw the celebration of awards to athletes and officials, the current bright stars and role models of the Movement. Paralympic Orders were also awarded to those who had given of their time for decades including those who were only notified during Covid of the honor but could now be present in person to be so recognized by the Membership.
On day three of the General Assembly we faced some serious questions as to whether to maintain the full suspension of Russia and Belorussia as determined previously in Berlin or to see if there was an appetite to allow their athletes to compete in individual disciplines as neutrals.
After extensive and emotional speeches by the NPCs of Ukraine, Russia and Belorussia it was determined to allow athletes to compete as neutrals by a close vote.
Naturally, that decision will have an impact on many international sports federations, including the activities of IBSA. It is my intention to organize a special IBSA Board meeting to discuss the implications for us and communicate any impacts we foresee accordingly.
Bahrain was an opportunity for me to meet and discuss the directions of the reforms being considered by IBSA with international experts, leaders of the Paralympic committees of IBSA member countries and other interested parties.
My team and I had meetings with the leaders of the Paralympic movements of Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, the United Arab Emirates, the Philippines, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Moldova, Italy, Montenegro, Bahrain, Iran, the Asian Paralympic Committee, Sweden, Azerbaijan, Sierra Leone, Liberia, the Oceania Paralympic Committee, Guinea.
Many of our Paralympic colleagues were supportive of the measures for IBSA to once again be a meaningful vehicle within the worlds blind and visually impaired community for sport and Paralympic success.
A productive discussion took place on the issues of medical classification and the possibilities of its further reform with the head of the IPC classification, Tea Cisich. The meeting was attended by General Secretary Sally Wood Lamont, board member Tinatin Revazishvili, executive director Tony Sainsbury and my PA, Rufat Gadzhili. It was decided to continue consultations on this issue within the framework of the IBSA Classification Commission, headed by Vice President Joe Walsh.
Overall I believe those days in Bahrain were productive and raised people’s awareness of IBSAs renewed potential.