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Over ten journalists from Africa are attending the Games following the invitation from the Organizing Committee of the Games.

Speaking during a dinner with the journalists, Merlo reminded the pen pushers of the difficulties facing the profession, while advising them to stay aware of those who want to divide the AIPS family.

The President of AIPS, Gianni Merlo has met with African sports journalists covering the ongoing 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games held in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan from September 17 till 27.

Merlo urged the journalists to stay focused and make the best use of their two weeks stay in Ashgabat to better develop their careers.

The AIMAG were officially opened on Sunday in a spectacular ceremony attended by the President of Turkmenistan and other head of states.

"It is better you go and sell chocolate if you lose your dignity," the AIPS President told the journalists as he reminded them of their role and responsibilities as journalists.

He strictly warned against any attempt or move to divide the AIPS big family.

The dinner was also attended by AIPS Africa President Mitchell Obi.

Tony DiCicco, a U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame inductee who coached the women’s national team to a 1996 Olympic gold medal and the 1999 World Cup title, died Monday evening. He was 68 years old.

 

The cause of death is unknown, but in a family statement posted by his son, Anthony, on Tuesday, it revealed that he had endured an illness. He passed away at his home in the company of his family.

In addition to his success on the senior women’s level (a 105-8-8 record), DiCicco coached the U.S. Under-20 national team to World Cup glory in 2008 and went on to coach the Boston Breakers in WPS from 2009-2011.

May His Soul Rest in Peace.

Former United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon has been proposed as the new Chair of the International Olympic Committee’s Ethics Commission by the IOC Executive Board. This proposal will now be put for vote to the full membership at the IOC Session in Lima, Peru, in September. Under the reforms of Olympic Agenda 2020, the Chair of the IOC Ethics Commission and all of its members are elected by the full IOC membership at the IOC Session.

 If approved, Ban Ki-Moon will replace the current Chair of the Ethics Commission, Mr. Youssoupha Ndiaye (former President of the Constitutional Court of Senegal), who is standing down at the end of this IOC Session.

Mr. Ban is a strong proponent of enhancing the role of sport to address global challenges. He oversaw the inclusion of “sport as an important enabler” in the Sustainable Development Goals, part of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

 At the IOC Session in Sochi in 2014, he said that “Olympic principles are United Nations principles.” He ran twice with the Olympic torch, at the Olympic Games Rio 2016 and at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014, to demonstrate the unique power of sport as a global force for good.

 IOC President Thomas Bach said: “The IOC is honoured and pleased that Mr. Ban accepted for his name to be put forward. On the one hand, Mr. Ban has an exemplary record of public service with integrity, accountability, and transparency. On the other hand, he is a great friend of the Olympic Movement.”

 Mr Ban said: "I am deeply honoured to be nominated as the Chair of the IOC’s Ethics Commission and accept the position with a sense of humility and responsibility. The United Nations and the International Olympic Committee have had a close working relationship over many years with both organizations contributing to building a peaceful and better world. In working closely under the principles of the IOC movement, I will do my best to enhance the accountability and transparency of the IOC."

Mr. Ban was the eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations, from January 2007 to December 2016. When he took office, he committed the UN to the highest standards of ethics, integrity, accountability, and transparency. One of Mr. Ban’s first actions was to introduce a code of ethics to the organization, which applied to all employees. An Ethics Committee was established to devise “a unified set of standards and policies” for the entire UN system.

Five years before 2022 FIFA World Cup, Khalifa International Stadium sells out at inauguration - 45th Emir Cup Final match

by Shaikha Al Thani, Supreme Committee

 

DOHA, May 24, 2017 - In September 2016, during a visit abroad with His Highness the Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, in Los Angeles, a question was raised by students during the event in which major Qatari projects took part, including the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), the entity in charge of the delivery of the infrastructure for the 2022 FIFA World Cup: “Is it worth it?”

 

Since winning the bid in 2010, there were various elements to this question – did we deserve the press that targeted us with false headlines? Were we supposed to fight fire with fire? Were we losing the community – who were asked all over the world about corruption, safety concerns, workers’ rights and the expanding growth at the expense of cultural and traditional norms?

 

The answer may not please everyone, but there is something we all agree on: the common language of sport. Football may not be what you love, but an event like the World Cup is undoubtedly supportive of what His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the father Emir, said in the bid book: “Hosting the world’s most prestigious sporting competition here in an Arab country for the first time would make incredible strides in further uniting the Middle East with the rest of the world and forging links between people of all backgrounds.”

 

In 1976, Khalifa International Stadium opened its doors for the first time to welcome the GCC for the fourth edition of the Gulf Cup of Nations. Since then, it has hosted the same event again in 1992, the 2006 Doha Asian Games, the 2011 Asian Cup and various other major friendlies and competitive matches. The proposed renovation for Khalifa International Stadium was fittingly revealed during the Gulf Cup in November 2014 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. No other sporting facility in Qatar has seen the amount of legends, historic or momentous occasions as Khalifa, the national stadium.

 

For the past five months, the country has been asking the same question: “Will it be revealed at the Emir Cup Final?” To non-engineers, various opinions floated around (“It doesn’t look finished.”) None of which mattered when you’re around 2000 days away from the tournament. The only thing that mattered was that it was done right.

 

For the estimated 5000 people who worked on Khalifa, and the hundreds of engineers and designers, the decision always revolved around one conclusion: it has to be done right. On the other hand, for the past few months, while the Technical Department Office worked tireless nights on the delivery of the venue, the Local Organising Committee did the same on the match organization, venue operations, marketing and ceremonial reveal of the first stadium ready for the tournament.

 

“Who said that this can’t be achieved? This is the future of football, this is Khalifa International Stadium.” The ceremony team was led with incredible support from the SC’s Assistant Secretary General, Nasser Al Khater, who never took the credit, but worked twice as hard as everyone. He gave the best piece of advice when I felt like I was losing sense of the plan for the reveal: “Your only aim should be delivering a successful event.” It’s easier than it seemed at that moment, but was one of the hardest lessons to learn – do your best, and that will be good enough.

 

The aim was the same for all members of the team: a World Cup-worthy experience. Anyone who walked away and asked the question asked in the beginning (is it worth it?) can make up their own mind based on facts, based on the experience and based on a sold out stadium. The speech of His Highness that night followed a narrative of Khalifa’s journey by the legendary commentator Youssif Saif, a solo violinist and a joint ribbon cutting ceremony by the Emir and 47,000 people.

 

“On behalf of every Qatari and every Arab, I declare Khalifa International Stadium ready to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup,” said HH the Emir. Behind the scenes, His Highness was aware of the ribbon cutting ceremony, but he spoke from his heart when he said that, insisting on what the first World Cup essentially is in the Middle East, a tournament for the region.

 

His Highness also honored the Chairman of the Technical Delivery Office at the SC, Engineer Hilal Al Kuwari to join him in cutting the ribbon. Al Kuwari was one of the children that took part in the 1976 Gulf Cup Opening Ceremony at Khalifa Stadium. He also led on the Khalifa International Stadium project and Aspire Zone Foundation since 2002, the SC’s stakeholder and the entity of the SC to which Khalifa International Stadium belongs. If anyone deserved to be next to His Highness during the cutting, it would have been Hilal. He was something of an icon of encouragement during the tough days at the SC, even when things weren’t perfect – he would always be the first person at work, and long after the last person to leave.

 

“I can make it snow, you know,” said Dr. Saud Abdul Ghani, the engineer leading the team behind the cooling technology at Khalifa International Stadium, where it is 42 degrees Celsius outside and could go down to 9 degrees Celsius inside. He was one of the many at the SC who worked hard for the love and passion of the project – never for the credit. 

 

At various times during the experience of working on the May 19th Emir Cup Final inauguration of Khalifa International Stadium, where the team entered the stadium at 7am and left at 1am, the bid team’s message during the 2010 win became very relevant: “we won’t let you down.” 

 

Which aims to answer the original question. If it wasn’t worth it – then we wouldn’t have fought this hard to prove our critics wrong. With five years left to the tournament, there is far more to come, but it has proven to be a worthwhile journey so far. 

Haile Gebrselassie (C) celebrates after winning the 35th Berlin Marathon on September 28, 2008 in Berlin, Germany with a new world record. The record was broken by Kenya's Patrick Macau in 2011 (Photo: Getty Images)

by Haileegziabher Adhanom, AIPS Young Reporter, Ethiopia

ADDIS ABABA, May 23, 2017 - Haile Gebresillassie, one of the greatest athletes of all time, a former multiple long-distance world and national record holder, Olympic and World Champion joined in on one of the most controversial and highly debated athletics discussions to date. The current President of the Ethiopian Athletics Federation confirmed exclusively to AIPS Media, that he is in favor of the proposal forwarded by European Athletics to scrap all world records set before 2005, and to begin a new chapter free from mistrust of doping.

 

“As long as it is for good reasons, for athletics, I support this idea. I learnt about the proposal by European Athletics from different sources, and if that is to bring integrity and faith to the sport I am fully behind it,” Gebresillassie said.

 

The Ethiopian, regarded as the greatest distance runner in history set more than 20 world records on the track and roads throughout his career. Asked about whether he would have supported the scrapping of records, if the records under his own name were still there, Gebreselassie explained:

 

“As you know, most of my world records were taken pre-2005. Even though I don’t have any record to be scrapped off at this moment, it will still affects my legacy like the rest of my generation – the clean athletes who did our necessary pre and post-race tests when we were asked to.

 

“But I want to see the bigger picture here,” the long-distance runner continued. “Why? If this issue was raised to rebuild the trust in my sport, athletics, as it is being said, then yes! I will support the idea, and I would have supported it knowing that I had to lose my world records as well.”

 

Haile Gebreselassie emphasized that even though he is supporting the general idea of the scrapping, he will also respect any athletes’ individual battle to keep their records by any means. This includes world women’s marathon record holder Great Britain’s Paula Radcliff, who has threatened to take legal action, if the proposal of European Athletics gets approval at the IAAF Council Meeting in London on 31 July.

AIPS Europe shows solidarity with Great Britain and Manchester

by Predrag Milinkovic, Secretary General, AIPS Europe

 

LAUSANNE, May 24, 2017 - The President and Executive Committee of AIPS Europe send condolences to our media colleagues in Great Britain following the tragic and terrorist attacks which happened at Manchester Arena. 

 

At least 22 people have been killed and 59 injured on the night of Monday, May 22.

 

On behalf of all European sports journalists associations, AIPS Europe conveys its sympathy and moral support towards our colleagues in Great Britain during the difficult moments they they have faced in 2017.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan receives congratulations from the Prime Minister of Armenia, Karen Karapetyan: "Best example of commitment, hard work and patriotism. Congrats, dear Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Yesterday evening you gave us all fantastic emotions."

Olympiacos celebrate winning their 44th title (Photo: Olympiacos FC) by Manos Staramopoulos, AIPS Football Commission

 

ATHENS, May 8, 2017 - For the seventh consecutive season and 44th in its history, Olympiacos was crowned champion of Greece. At a spectacular event held on Sunday at the "George Karaiskakis" stadium, the Greek champion celebrated its success, which was completed with the trophy award. The Super League president, Giorgos Stratos, presented the trophy to its proud owner and Olympiacos chairman Vangelis Marinakis, who emphasized a little later

 

"The deal with Nottingham is over, Marinakis said, referring to reports that the Greek businessman was holding talks of a takeover of English club Nottingham Forest. “Olympiacos is above all... he added, preferring to concentrate on Olympiacos’ championship celebration.

 

"It is a great celebration, we enjoyed it very much, we celebrated the 44th championship, the 7th consecutive, all together as a family.”

 

All the players of Olympiacos’ youth academies, holding Greek flags as well as Olympiacos flags, were present at the stadium. Also at the celebration was the president of the Olympiacos veterans, legendary club midfielder, Giorgos Darivas. Messages of congratulation were sent by former coaches who had worked with the team, including those from Spain’s Valverde and his compatriot, Michel, Portuguese coaches Vitor Pereira, Leonardo Jardim and Markos Silva.

 

The ‘Reds’ as Olympiacos are popularly known as within the country, took their 7th consecutive championship and the 19th in the last 21 years. Of course, compared to last season, this year’s final win was delayed as their opponents in the Greek league looked stronger.

 

"It was a strange time, but we are the champions, and that's important," the Olympiacos coach, Takis Lemonis said after the 5-0 win over Ioannina, which had mathematically meant the team had secured the title. This is Olympiacos’ fifth in three seasons. The 57-year-old former Olympiacos took over for a short-term contract until the end of the season after the departure of te Portuguese coach Paulo Bento.

 

Now the goal of the Reds is to move as quickly as possible to the planning for the new season, as Olympiacos wants nothing more than to pass to the Champions League beyond the qualifiers. Vangelis Marinakis, chairman of the club, recently said that the administration has decided to spend an amount of € 15 million for the team to acquire the right footballers for making it to Europe.

 

Soon the name of the new coach is set to be announced, as Takis Lemonis is not expected to remain in the technical leadership that indeed proved to be the right solution for a short period of time.

 

Olympiacos will try to acquire at least one quality left back. Two midfielder, one striker and maybe one winger. So far agreements have been made with both Manolis Siopis and Risvanis, and it is likely that international striker Apostolos Vellios, will return from Nottingham Forest.

 

PAOK, Panathinaikos, AEK and Panionios placed 2-5 will face playoffs for second place in the Champions League qualifiers.

The 148th European Athletics Council meeting took place in Paris from 28-30 April. Photo/European Athletics

LAUSANNE, May 1, 2017 - The European Athletics Council has accepted a project team’s recommendations that would lead to the rewriting of the world and European records lists.

The project team’s report, which calls for higher technical standards, increased doping control measures and new personal integrity requirements for record holders, will be forwarded to the IAAF with the recommendation that the two organisations coordinate the implementation of new record ratification rules.

 

Speaking after the Council’s meeting in Paris, from 28 to 30 April, President Svein Arne Hansen said “performance records that show the limits of human capabilities are one of the great strengths of our sport, but they are meaningless if people don’t really believe them.

 

“What we are proposing is revolutionary, not just because most world and European records will have to be replaced but because we want to change the concept of a record and raise the standards for recognition a point where everyone can be confident that everything is fair and above board.

 

The standards proposed by the project team include that world and European records can only be recognised if 1) the performance is achieved at competitions on a list of approved international events where the highest standards of officiating and technical equipment can be guaranteed, 2) the athlete has been subject to an agreed number of doping control tests in the months leading up to the performance and 3) the doping control sample taken after the record is stored and available for re-testing for 10 years.

 

The project team also recommended that record recognition be withdrawn at any time if the athlete commits a doping or integrity violation, even if it does not directly impact the record performance.

 

Current records not established in accordance with the agreed standards will remain on the all-time list but recognition will be transferred to performances that meet the criteria.

 

“It’s a radical solution for sure, but those of us who love athletics are tired of the cloud of doubt and innuendo that has hung over our records for too long,” said Hansen. “We need decisive action to restore credibility and trust and I want to thank the project team, led by Pierce O’Callaghan, for their great work in showing us a way forward.

 

"This will now go to the IAAF Council Meeting in August and on behalf of European Athletics I will be encouraging them to adopt this proposal,” said Hansen. “In the meantime we will be checking with our legal advisors to make sure the new rules will stand up to any challenges that might come.”

 

IAAF President Sebastian Coe, who attended the final session of the meeting together with other European members of the IAAF Council, said, “I like this because it underlines that we [the governing bodies] have put into place doping control systems and technology that are more robust and safer than fifteen or even ten years ago.

 

“Of course, for this to be adopted for world records by the IAAF it needs global approval from all Area Associations. There will be athletes, current record holders, who will feel that the history we are recalibrating will take something away from them but I think this is a step in the right direction and if organised and structured properly we have a good chance of winning back credibility in this area."

 

The European Athletics Council also accepted recommendations to revoke a number of European Athlete of the Year Awards and European Athletics Coaching Awards, subject to legal review.

 

The Project Team Report on the credibility of European Records can be viewed here in English, and in French, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish.

 

Professor Francisco Javier Virgen

by Gerardo España Larreta, AIPS America Secretary General

 

COLIMA, May 2, 2017 - AIPS America has lost on Sunday April 30 one of its most distinguished leaders, Professor Francisco Javier Virgen, member of the Court of Honor of our entity.

 

 

His death occurred in his beloved city of Colima, Mexico, after several days of tenacious and courageous struggle for his life, after suffering a heart attack.

 

 

Professor Virgen was president of FEMECRODE (Mexican Federation of Sport Writers). In this way he organized the Congress of the FEPEDA (Federation of Sports Journalists of America in those years) in his native city, Colima, in 2007, a meeting that, in his hand, reached a remarkable success.

 

 

He integrated the last two executives of AIPS America, until 2011 as treasurer and since then in the function of component of the Court of Honor.

 

 

His intellectual qualities and his inclination for teaching always gave precedence to his name as Knight or Professor, who punctuated his virtues, which he generously shared with friends and colleagues in each of the events of our entity.

 

 

His unexpected departure full of grief and pain to the family of sports journalism in Mexico, to which AIPS America sends its feelings of regret, which we ask are extended to the members of his distinguished family.

 

 

AIPS America declares official mourning for this unfortunate event that occurs less than three months after the closing of the current executive committee, which pays homage of respect and admiration to the figure of the unforgettable "Professor and Knight Virgen".

 

With pain and respect

 

LAUSANNE, May 2, 2017 - Australia, USA, Japan and Kazakhstan are the top four teams qualified for the FINA Men's Water Polo World League Super Final 2017, to take place in Ruza , Russia, from June 20-25. 

 

Australia defeated the U.S. 8-6 in the gold match on the last Day of the Intercontinental Tournament in Gold Coast (held from April 25-30). The Aussies remained unbeaten throughout the competition, with four straight wins and one win after penalty shootout. 

 

In the bronze-medal encounter, Japan beat Kazakhstan 12-7. 

 

The four squads will be joining the European teams Serbia, Croatia and Italy in Ruza for the Super Final. Russia, as the host country, will also take part in the Super Final Tournament. 

 

Gold Coast Final placings 

 

1. Australia, 2. United States of America, 3. Japan, 4. Kazakhstan, 5. New Zealand, 6. China

 

Serbia have won the title of the Men's Water Polo World League consecutively since 2013.

Kerron Clement of USA competes in the Men's 400m Hurdles on day 11 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 16, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

by Nenad Djurovic, AIPS Young Reporter, Serbia

 

DOHA, May 1, 2017 - The 8th edition of the Doha Diamond League can easily use a very effective slogan: ‘No Bolt? No Problem!’

 

The prestigious meeting scheduled on Friday at the Qatar Sport Club Stadium, will not feature the fastest man on the planet, nevertheless some of the best athletes in the world will make the event intriguing.

 

To be fair, it must be mentioned that the organizers have negotiated Usain Bolt’s presence in Doha, but the trainer opposed the participation because too early into a very long season. A season mainly focused on the World Championship due in London in late of August, possibly the last officials race for Bolt before retirement.

 

Without Usain, the limelight on Friday will be for athletes such Us Olympic Champion Kerron Clement and LaShawn Merritt, the two big attractions of the 400m.

 

Conselsus Kipruto, the 3000m steeplechase gold medalist in Rio, will lead the large Kenyan team and he will take part of the 3000m flat.

 

“The Doha Diamond league is probably the most important sport competition in the Middle East, for sure the most exciting event hosted in Qatar - says Dr Thani Al-Kuwari, President of the Qatar Athletic Federation and Secretary General of the Qatar Olympic Committee, during the press conference for this event.

 

“Our aim is to organize this meeting to the highest possible standards and provide the very best conditions for athletes and spectators”, he added.

 

Unfortunately, spectators in Doha won’t be able to see Ivana Španović, the long jump European Champion holding the best result of the season (7.24 m). The Serbian announced her absence a few weeks ago. Despite this defection the women field will still feature world class athletes.

 

The most intriguing race will probably be in the 200m where Jamaican Olympic and World Champion Elaine Thompson will clash with Dutch Dafne Schippers.

 

The pole vault will be another thrilling moment of the night with the Greek Ekaterini Stefanidi dueling with Cuban Yaresley Silva.

 

But of course, the locals will be delighted by their own idols like Olympic hero at Rio 2016, the high jump silver medalist Mutaz Barshim. Barshim will lead a pack of hopeful Qataris that includes Abderrahman Samba, who recently ran the fastest 400m hurdles of 2017 (48.31) and 2016 Olympian javelin thrower Ahmed Bedeir.

 

“The level of the Doha Diamond League is very high - says Bedeir - I expect the competition to be very tough. I have been training hard and cannot wait to compete and I hope to honour Qatar and make everyone proud.”

 

“Our athletes have been training very hard over the winter –added Secretary General of the Qatar Athletics Mohamed Al-Fadala-. The Doha Diamond League will be just their second appearance this season but we have a very talented team and we are confident that they will all achieve important results.”

 

With 16 reigning Olympic and World Champions, and a total of 44 global medalists competing on Friday it will be a tough task for the Qataris.

 

The Qatar team will also feature the promising sprinter (100m) Mariam Farid, the 19 years old Ambassador for the 2019 IAAF World Championship in Qatar. And having a woman as one of the leading competitors for the Country is already a success.

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