Fair Play is not a theory: WRF membership with CIFP
On 19th February WRF officially became a member of the International Fair Play Committee (CIFP), with the signature of the two presidents Mr Danilo Barmaz and Dr Jenő Kamuti.
CIFP is supporting and promoting Fair Play worldwide since its foundation in Paris in 1963, by UNESCO, with a special emphasis on children, adolescents and those in charge of their training.
“Sport is one of the best metaphors in life: it means experience that constantly improves and tests our behavior; fair play is a concrete attitude that we manifest in action, not in theory. I am really pleased with this new WRF membership because the aim of CIFP is entirely consistent with our purposes” declared WRF President Barmaz “Fair competition, respect, friendship, team spirit, equality, sport without doping, integrity, solidarity, tolerance, care, excellence and joy: I consider rafting an interesting sport that incorporates all the fundamental values of the Committee, so this membership represents both an accomplishment and a starting point of our grow path”
Cooperation in the spirit of fair play delivers greater results than pure gamesmanship in all walks of life.
Two objectives among the WRF purposes are to generally promote a good sporting practice and to specifically promote the practice of our sport as a a healthy and educational activity for youth. Fair play can be considered a tool that bonds the awareness of our mind and body, because through our behaviour we show the aim of our mind. Whenever we act in the spirit of fair play we contribute to building a peaceful and better world: through the tolerance and respect that we learn in the river, and from sport in general, we start to integrate peculiar dynamics, relevant into the everyday life, considering the society as a team.
The kick off meeting in Italy welcomes nearly 150 athletes: eyes on France from Vara river
Last weekend the agonistic season in Italy has finally begun. After the forced stop due to the Pandemic and a snowy winter all around the country, Italy gets back in the river on Vara, that hosts nearly 150 rafters in Brugnato, in the province of La Spezia, Liguria.
Para-rafting athletes were also there, some of them experienced the rapids for the first time, while others were already looking at Durance river, training for the World Champs.
RX and Downriver tested the athletes, that will earn their spot in the national teams during the official selection in May and June, but are already paddling for it.
Letizia Lauri, Elodie Lumignon, Gaia Mascarello and Carlotta Scalvino, competing as Rafting Aventure Villeneuve, won the female category with 200 points. Second place for Adda Viva Indomita Valtellina River with 180 and bronze to Sesia Rafting/Centrosportavventura with 160 points.
Rafting Aventure Villeneuve
In the male category, a second place in the downriver guaranteed a gold to the RX winners of the Sesia Rafting team: Dario Morandi, Michele Pattoglio, Francesco Regina and Giordy Sarteur scored 192 points, followed by Rafting Team Verona with 188 points and Indomita Valtellina River with 160 points.
With the eyes on France, the teams are focused on the next dates: 2 National Cups and regular agonistic meetings will decide the names that we will see at the World Champs, and all the candidates are training for that spot.
Costa Rica opens the racing season on Rio Pejibaye
On 27th and 28th February the Federación Costarricense de Rafting organised the first meeting of the National Championship that will select the teams for France 2021.
The first race weekend saw eight R4 Senior teams paddling on the rapids of Rio Pejibaye.
Considering the upcoming event of the World Champs, the winners are the favourite candidates to carry the flag of Costa Rica in L'Argentière-La Bessée at the end of June, for now. Two other dates will decide the official teams.
Chicas del Pacuare
With the maximum score of 300 points the team Chicas del Pacuare got the gold in the female category, leading all three disciplines.
In the male category every discipline crowned a different winner team. The 120 RX points decided the overall winners: Hijos del Volcan, with 270 points.
The silver went to the Volcano team, with 263 points, who opened the competition winning the Downriver. Finally, with 254 points, the Quepos team took the the first place in the Slalom, and the bronze overall.
Hijos del Volcan
This great start is the first of three events for the National selection of Costa Rica. On 27th and 28th March all the teams will reunite in La Fortuna, San Carlo, and one last time in April in Sarapiquì.
Be a chameleon, not a dinosaur
Ivo Ferriani is an IOC Executive Board Member since 2018, sport director, former professional bobsledder (and former river guide).
He is the President of the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) since 2010, IOC Member since 2016 and President of the Association of International Olympic Winter Sports Federations (AIOWF) since 2020.
At the beginning of his sporting career he practiced football, athletics, kayak and rafting, before pursuing his professional career as bobsledder: in 1988 he competed at the Olympic Winter Games in Calgary, Canada, as two-man bob pilot.
We interviewed Mr. Ferriani on the basis of Good Governance and he expressed his opinion on the current worldwide situation.
President Ferriani, what is your definition of Good Governance?
First of all we should not talk about Good Governance but Governance itself. “Good” is one of the properties of Governance, probably the only underlying principle, the adjective that characterise all of its aspects, if they are properly applied.
Many people think about Governance as a goal, that is the reason why it is often combined with “Good”.
Governance is not an objective to be achieved, but a continuous process and a way of acting.
It implies awareness and respect, of oneself and the others: (Good) Governances begins with self-governance. Taking care of ourself improves our consciousness and leads us to imagine a different world, seeing the potential of the one we where we live now.
Everyday there is an opportunity for everyone to be seized, from the athletes to the Presidents. We always have the chance to imagine a better version of ourself, but if we want to realise it we need to figure out the real potential and channel our energies.
In a global dimension like the federations entities, we should not waste the world force, but take advantage of the different viewpoints, building projects with sustainability and transparency.
(Good) Governance is a matter of courage and patience: it means shaping and protecting our own evolution. This process requires self-imposed rules and in a community these rules have to be common and shared, in order to be respected by all means.
Finally, the (Good) Governance is about quality rather than quantity and the age should not be considered directly proportional to (good) experience: the potential of young people is not a future opportunity, but a current chance. Therefore, despite the top-down direction of Governance, the core of a sport movement are the athletes.
What is the rule of the athletes concerning (Good) Governance? What is the general lesson from the sports practice?
Athletes, as I said, are the core of every association, federation and sports organisation: no athletes mean no Presidents. They are the sport. They have to be aware of the organisations’ movement, considered and included in the decision-making not as receivers but the starting point.
Sport teaches us to compete with ourself, to compete with others and to accept the outcome. It improves our awareness, so self-care becomes an input. Team sports are an easier example of how the governing bodies should act: “I” switches to “we”.
If I regulate myself and respect the others then the system works, like the Covid-19 masks: it is a vicious circle.
So, what is the lesson from the pandemic?
Covid-19 stopped everything. If we thought and think about it, it brought us a greater awareness and taught us not to take moment for granted. It is a problem, but like any other problem should be considered a chance to reflect: we must accept the moment and appreciate its opportunities.
We need to adapt: moving forward is always positive, but now is strictly necessary. If we consider this period as a challenge, there will be an outcome and it will be positive. Covid-19 reminds us that we need to be chameleons, not dinosaurs, bearing in mind flexibility and resilience: two principles that every athlete with passion knows very well.
Therefore, we should stop to think but not think to stop. Once the stop is passed we will re-start: will the new beginning be slow or fast?
It will be fast: people need to feed the soul as well as the body.
New objectives will be established and the hope will be able develop. We are all missing sports moments, now more than ever, because sport represents expression and aggregation, that through the body free the mind.
The sport flame will reignite and I will do my best to contribute, so remember that the flame is not extinguished: it is just ember, waiting to burn again.
We warmly thank Mr. Ferriani for the approachability he has shown and the support he is giving to our community since the beginning.
Finally, paraphrasing the President’s words, we leave you with a question, that is not “Why is this happening to us?” but rather “What is this teaching us?”.
Awareness and Action: WRF joined the UNFCCC’s Sports for Climate Action
WRF is proud to announce that it has joined the UNFCCC’s Sports for Climate Action initiative as a signatory to the Sports for Climate Action Framework.
Since 1994 the UNFCCC is working through leadership, collaboration and ambition as key messages, preventing “dangerous” human interference with the climate system.
The Sports for Climate Action initiative calls on sporting organizations to acknowledge the contribution of the sports sector to climate change and our responsibility to strive towards climate neutrality for a safer planet.
Through collective action and bold leadership, WRF has the power to contribute to this fast and drastic transformation. "By signing the Framework, we have demonstrated WRF commitment to playing our part to ensure the sports sector is on the path to a low-carbon future" said the WRF President, Danilo Barmaz.
UN Climate Change welcomes the leadership of the International Olympic Committee in contributing to key areas of action within this movement and shares with the international governing bodies that join the movement, such as sports federations, two main objectives:Achieving a clear trajectory for the global sports community to combat climate change, through commitments and partnerships according to verified standards, including measuring, reducing, and reporting greenhouse gas emissions, in line with the well below 2 degree scenario enshrined in the Paris Agreement; Using sports as a unifying tool to federate and create solidarity among global citizens for climate action.
In line with the five core principles enshrined in the Framework and the aims of the Paris Agreement, WRF will strive to:promote greater environmental responsibility; reduce the overall climate impact from sports; use our platform to educate for climate action; promote sustainable and responsible consumption; and advocate for climate action through our communications.
At the launch event for the Framework, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Patricia Espinosa explained that sports organizations and athletes are in a unique position in the race against climate change “because sports touches on every cross-section of society”.
With this in mind, we hope our commitment will inspire our fans, community and governments to raise their climate ambition in a united effort to limit global warming to 1.5oC. This is a race we can—and must— win to avoid significantly worsening the risk of droughts, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.
WRF announces a new partnership with Surfrider Foundation Europe
“We are all in the same boat. Oceans, lakes, rivers, it is all water. Water binds us together. WRF always feels the responsibility to consider the protection of the environment when organising and promoting its activities. We undertake to be an active member of this project, that has a lot in common with ours”.
With these words the WRF President voices his enthusiasm for the recently signed a partnership with Surfrider Foundation Europe.
It is a non-profit organisation whose purpose is to protect and showcase the importance of water all around Europe, being part of the worldwide Surfrider Foundation. For almost 30 years, Surfrider Foundation Europe has been taking action as a recognised authority in different levers of action: education and awareness, political advocacy and scientific and legal expertise, spreading the issues of marine litter, water quality, public health, coastal management and climate change.
The Founder of Surfrider Foundation Europe Tom Curren writes “At the very beginning we were just 5 or 6 people sitting around a table, asking ourselves why Surfrider Foundation didn’t exist in France. Like everywhere else, there were water quality issues. Surfers taking part in competitions used to fall ill, and we weren’t realizing why back then.
We decided to establish Surfrider Foundation Europe in 1990, coinciding with the Menakos surf comp’ in Spain. More than 25 years later, I’m very pleased to witness the amount of progress achieved by the teams who took great care to conserve the project’s values and original spirit while developing a solid expertise”.
The rafting community lives surrounded by nature and through the river we realise its delicate balance. If we really enjoy it we have to learn how to protect it and this is a good starting point.
Sustainability In and Through Sport: WRF partnership with SandSi
A new partnership has been singed between WRF and Sport and Sustainability International (SandSi).
SandSi is a not-for-profit international organisation based in Geneva, Switzerland, that leverages the power of sport to encourage mind and behaviour changes towards more responsible conduct, aligning with the Paris Agreement and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations Agenda 2030. The mission of SandSi has much in common with the principles of our federation: to accelerate sustainability in and through sport.
The three main goals of the organisation for 2030 are:
Climate: the sport sector to become Carbon Neutral (according to the 2015 Paris Agreement)
Waste: the sport sector to become Zero Waste, issue that has been the core of World Championship 2019 in Tunceli and we consider a starting point
Health: the sport sector to contribute to 15% reduction on physical inactivity (according with the World Health Organisation).
To achieve these results, we share four conditions: Inclusion, Integrity, Accountability and Passion.
While SandSi acts with these purposes cooperating with leagues, federations, clubs, companies and institutions worldwide, we apply such principles at every level of our river community taking inspiration from our athletes and guides who constantly remind us that we are all in the same boat.
Rafting has been recognised several times as a tool of inclusion and overcoming differences and we are constantly trying to take this aim to the next level.
Our sport is not only a whitewater experience. Besides new athletes with disabilities approaching to the river and mix-teams competing at our events, in the last years the diversification of tracks has open up new horizons. As a team sport it is increasingly used by schools and companies. Kids are introduced to rafting not only as a recreational and cultural activity but also to fight physical inactivity and the sedentary behaviours. And furthermore rafting is practised in close contact with nature: physical education at school has the potential to be an effective tool to raise awareness on environmental issues.
Jan 27th: If understanding is impossible, knowing is necessary
January 27th 1945: the survivors of the Auschwitz extermination camp were freed from the horror of the holocaust, after 1.1 million people lost their lives in the camp's gas chambers or from starvation and disease.
Memory that in recent times our world seems to have lost, showing a reality in which more and more walls are erected, in which the finger is pointed at who is different, at who is in difficulty, at who comes from afar.
A period that looks increasingly dark, made of fear and closures. The same ones that, during the period before the Second World War, then led to attitudes of intolerance and racism culminating in the genocide perpetrated by Nazi Germany against many men, women and children.
This day should serve precisely to make us understand that that tragic event, made up of so many stories and so many people, of loves, fears and tragically broken lives is not so far from us, from our age, from our daily life in which intolerance, anger and hatred are the masters showing an increasingly ignorance.
On January 27th 1945, when the gates of Auschwitz were definitely closed, the world swore that progress and culture no longer allowed so much evil and so much suffering, but the truth is that we all still need to study, to answer today's questions and remember and assimilate those values that must be handed down to new generations to teach them not to forget.
We all play a sport that believe in the Olympic Spirit and its values have greater responsibilities because we have the power to unite people and speak to young people in simple and understandable language, giving hope, overcoming racial barriers and all kinds of discrimination. Let's not forget it.