Leho Haldna: “Making a start”

Posted on | September 30, 2016 | Category: Newsletter

There are always concerns at different levels in any organisation when there is a change in leadership. But as a new president, I have no plans to make big changes straight away. What I want to do is to open a discussion about what structure is the best for the IOF’s future. It is possible that the outcome of this discussion is that the current model is a best one also in the future, but the point is that it will be a decision based on discussion.

In general, there were only minor changes in the IOF Council after the elections in August. We have only one newcomer, Vincent Frey from France, but Vincent already has experience of working in the Council, having been on the council 2008 – 2012. This means we will have a flying start. We have already held our first meeting, which took place in Strömstad in August, and the next is in a few weeks’ time, in conjunction with World Cup Final in Aarau, Switzerland.

Politicians always give promises before elections. I do not feel that I’m a politician, but still I gave some promises at the General Assembly. Amongst another promises at the IOF GA, I said that I see my role as team leader or manager and also an initiator of new ideas. We have a good team in the Council and I believe that we, the IOF Office, Council and Commissions, together will take orienteering forward with longer steps than in the past.

One of the promises with most response was one to make our sport less complicated. At least it was the most retweeted news after the Congress. I do not mean that we need to place easy controls for elite runners, but that we need to make it easier for beginners to start with orienteering. There are many ways to do this and we need recognise and support them. A good example here is a World Orienteering Day where all kinds of orienteering events for different skill levels are organised.

We also need to think about how a TV-audience can better understand our sport. We have made great progress in TV-broadcast quality and distribution during the last few years, but mainly in countries with established orienteering traditions. How can we present our events in an understandable way for people who have no idea about our sport? That is definitely something to think about.

So, the IOF Council, complete with a new President, are ready for and looking forward to another 2-year period of working hard in the best interests of our sport. However, do not expect big changes starting tomorrow. By using more consultation rounds and discussions with our members, decisions for change (or no to change, as the case may be) will come once having thoroughly discussed with stakeholders. This will be a key factor as we move forward.

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