May ‘BoniBlog – Wrapping Up The 73rd AIPS Congress

By John Iaboni, Sports Media Canada, Special Correspondent – this week in Turkey

When I was a kid I always wondered what it would be like to represent Canada at the United Nations. Representing Sports Media Canada at the 73rd AIPS Congress in Antalya was about as close as I’ll get to experiencing the UN feeling – and it’s a darned terrific one at that. I had my own seat, with the “CANADA” sign right in front of me.

Canada's Representative

As AIPS Secretary-General Roslyn Morris handled the roll call when the Congress opened on April 29 and the representatives from the more than 100 nations responded, I thought, ‘wow, this is cool’ …. especially very early on when I had to shout out “yes” to indicate Canada was here.
There wasn’t any thumping of shoes (as Nikita Khrushchev did at the UN in 1960) and the matters that went to votes – lowering the Executive Committee elected Vice Presidents from five to four and adding the Presidents of the four Continental Sections as ex officio, VPs effective in 2013 and re-branding the Continental Sections to AIPS Europe, AIPS Americas, AIPS Asia and AIPS Africa – produced almost unanimous consent and few raised voices or rebukes.
Many delegates here have called the Antalya Congress “the best ever” and for that the credit goes to the enormous hard work of two groups: The Organizing Committee led by Esat Yilmaer, President of the Turkish Sports Writers’ Association and AIPS First Vice President, along with the AIPS Office, under the leadership of President Gianni Merlo and Secretary-General Roslyn Morris.
Given the beauty of the Rixos Premium Belek and the absolutely perfect weather, Merlo managed to fulfill his desire: This wasn’t a holiday by any means — but full days of work from Thursday through Saturday followed by the half-day on Sunday. Most delegates were on their way home by Monday.
Congratulations to everyone who made this “United Nations” of sports journalists such a memorable, exhilarating experience. It was an honour for me to represent Canada and for that I extend my gratitude to Sports Media Canada President Steve McAllister and Executive Vice President/Co-Founder Don Goodwin.
This same duo asked me to represent SMC in the AIPS Office at the Vancouver Olympics. Working with the AIPS Offices in Vancouver and now Antalya has been a privilege so thanks once more to Gianni and Roslyn.

A Successful AIPS Congress

A Successful AIPS Congress

Wrapping Up:
*Hugging, hand shaking and exchanging business cards are common practices at AIPS Congresses.
*The hot button issue that produced the most attention was New Media. The insights were provided by: Kevan Gospar, IOC Member and Chairman of the IOC Press Commisson; Martin Volmar, Germany; Ken Mainardis (UK) Senior Director for Rights and Sports Operations, Getty Images; Anthony Edgar, Head of IOC Media Operations; Alan Abrahamson,; Diego Antonelli, Head of La Gazzetta dello Sport online.
“We’re in the middle of an evolution of how we do our jobs … maybe a revolution,” Abrahamson said.
Due to time constraints with the heavy schedule, Merlo promised to make New Media a full day at next year’s Congress in Seoul.
*Thoroughly enjoyed meeting so many new people. The U.S. had two observers in Bob Condron, Director, Media Services, U.S. Olympic Committee and Bruce Wawrzyniak, Director of Communications, International Softball Federation.
*Of the presentations made by Lausanne, Rome and Tijuana to host the 75th AIPS Congress in 2012, the one delivered by Carlos Melo for Tijuana was the liveliest. The AIPS Executive Committee will weigh all the factors before making its recommendation as host site.
*Most compelling presentation: By young Afghan sports journalist Tabish Forugh.
*Saying goodbye: The passing of the AIPS flag from representatives of Turkey to their counterparts in Seoul. The ceremony of gifts, for any nation wanting to provide a memento to the host, then symbolizes the final goodbye.

Farewell Antalya!