We have certainly had our share of Championship opportunities lately. I will share my view of the ones I attended and would like to see.
First there was the inaugural World Masters Athletics Indoor Championships in Sindelfingen, Germany. I must admit I did not expect a lot from this meet. I guess I was so close to the New York bid for this Championships that I was skeptical that they could pull it off on a four-lane track. Well, they did a very good job considering the circumstances. Many records were broken and most athletes, including myself, had a good time. The weather was quite cold and snowy for the outdoor throws, especially for Southern California and Florida athletes, but we dealt with it. It was the same for everyone. Thats what make this the great sport that it is. Would I do it again if I knew what I was getting into? You bet I would! I was disappointed that only 65 U.S. athletes chose to experience this first ever Championships. Those of you who didnt missed a wonderful experience. The camaraderie among athletes was outstanding. This was especially so for my roommate, Bob Sager. He hugged more non-Americans than the Secretary General of The United Nations. When he finishes inseminating all the cows in Montana, I think there is a job for him on the East River in New York.
Speaking of New York again, in some ways I am almost glad they didnt get this Championships. Considering the state of affairs in the world today, they might not have had the turnout needed to break even. When Our World settles down a little I would hope they try again. They have an outstanding venue.
Another outstanding venue will be for the 2nd WMA Indoor Championships in Linz, Austria. Their presentation for the event was almost as good as Jerry Bookin-Weiners presentation at annual meeting for the 2006 NCC-WMA Regional Championships. Lintz did almost everything perfect. You know that is true when there are very few questions. They were slick.
I did have a question for them as you might guess. They seem stuck on putting us weight throwers outside in the cold. I informed them that there are such things as indoor throwing weights. They acted surprised, and said they would look into it. I volunteered to send them some U.S. suppliers catalogues. This could be a double edged sword since they will probably cut the sector lines as they did in the shot put in Sindelfingen.
This voting was not without controversy. The General Assembly meeting was only to select the 2006 site. As usual, Federations were required to identify their delegates 30 days in advance of the Assembly. As usual, many Federations did not declare their delegates. In fact only 19 or 20 did, out of 50, 60 or maybe 70 Federations. Much politicking and pressure was in sway prior to the Assembly. Some said it really wasnt a real assembly and so everyone could vote on a site and didnt have follow the rules.
The WMA Council tried to figure out what to do and couldnt reach agreement. They decided to put it to vote by the seated delegations to decide if the non-seated delegates could vote. The U.S. delegation asked that the vote be by secret ballot. This was complied with and vote came out a tie. That left it to the Chairman, Torsten Carlius, to break the tie with his vote. I must say I was most surprised that he voted NO. This surprised everyone. Thank you, Mr Carlius! Only the seated delegates voted. And you know the results. Lets have a large representation in Lintz.
Anconna, Italy, had an uphill battle but will probably be a good bidder in the future.
How many times can I say that this meet keeps getting better every year. They did it again this year, and the records prove it. Thanks to the meet directors for the special accommodation for our long throwing M60+ weight throwers. Throwing the weight in the middle of the track just like the big boys. Wow!
Another thing that really impressed me about this meet was the number of athletes collecting medals who have had major surgical and cancer treatments during the past couple of years. In the interest of privacy I cant name names, but you know who they are. What an inspiration to all of us. This sport is more than a lifetime sport. It is passion personified.
The passing of the banner to Boise was an impressive gesture and real show of class by the Boston organizers. Boise has big shoes to fill.
Besides the fantastic media work by Jill Geer from the National office and Bob Weiner and his Media Committee, we even had our National CEO Craig Masback in attendance on his way to Athens. He was very impressed with all aspects of the meet. Thanks for your attention, Craig.
We look forward to our return to Boston in 2006.
One thing we havent publicized enough in this Championship is the club scores. I am working to get this information out, but am having trouble getting everyone behind the effort. As you may recall, the Masters T&F Committee agreed to have club scoring on an unofficial basis until we decided not to continue or made it official at the next Annual Meeting. Hopefully we will make it official at the next Annual Meeting in Portland, Ore. I would also like to see us start running Regional Club Championships on an unofficial basis to see how that would work out. We might also look into running the Masters Club Championships in conjunction with the open regional championships which could use the critical mass. Please let me know how you feel about this.