WMA president, others slam Sacramento worlds in 2013 reportCritics of Sacramento worlds were legion. But we weren’t alone. Today we learned that the top officers of World Masters Athletics faulted their flagship event as well. WMA President Stan Perkins of Australia writes in his 2013 report to the Porto Alegre General Assembly: “This championship had promised so much, but in several areas it was most disappointing. Generally all aspects of the competition were to a good standard, but it was the additional aspects that make an event memorable which were missing. Catering, change-room facilities, toilets, transport between venues, lack of shade at venues were all below expectation. Additionally the opening ceremony was an embarrassment when it should have been a showpiece. The closing ceremony was almost non-existent and an insult to the next hosts.” Oh my. Tell us more!
Stan continued his critique:
I believe it is appropriate to inform the affiliates that during the visit of the WMA Council to Sacramento in 2010 the 11 arrangements advised as being in place for the championships that relate to the abovementioned deficiencies were all acceptable.
In a meeting with the Council two days before the start of this championship the CEO of the LOC again addressed the Council and assured us that everything was “ready to go.” Therefore we were totally unprepared for what happened over the next days. A number of the provisions of the contract were not honoured and ultimately, payment of a considerable amount of the monies due to WMA was not received for many months. Protracted negotiations eventually resulted in most of the monies being recovered.
The disappointment that this championship did not meet expectations was explained to some degree when the wrap up of this event was finalized in Sacramento. The Sports Commission was disbanded and the CEO [John McCasey] was removed.
Financial irregularities were apparently revealed and the City suffered a considerable financial loss. Whilst this explained why severe cost cutting had resulted in amenities and services not being provided as previously indicated, it is not an outcome that WMA wishes to see associated with any of its championships and we have moved to amend our contracts accordingly for future events.
WMA executive VP Vesa Lappalainen of Finland wrote:
TRANSPORTATION: Transportation fee for those who were not staying in official LOC-hotels was not right and decision was done without WMA acceptance. The schedule was good, but during holiday season some of bus lines were running by a holiday schedule. No signs from bus stop in the campus area during first days. The transportation guide was good. Some bus drivers did not allow using their bus line with official permission stamp in 21 athletes id-card. The buses needed to stop in front of the venue due to the older athletes.
ACCOMMODOTATION: LOC negotiated only official hotels and it was not easy to understand why. There was several hotels and lower price accommodation, but they were not mentioned in the entry information. Variation of breakfast was quite small.
OPENING CEREMONY: Athletes parade was reasonable, but the sound system was very poor. And the championships were not properly opened by the LOC President. No official oath of the athletes and the officials. USA flag was presented after some competition days. The presentation act was difficult to understand in the open space.
AWARDS: The start during first days was difficult and WMA logo was missing. Area was quite well planned, nearest gate was closed during first 2 days, stand was too small for teams. Volunteers did a good work and presentation was excellent. The protest time caused that it had to do totally new schedule and it happened that some events award was 4 or 5 hours late. The daily schedule was not published in the handbook. LOC didnâ€™t count team medals and this caused that relay teams didnâ€™t get their medals, only as a symbol at the presentation, after it medal took away. Later LOC sent medals by post to the athletes.
ATHLETES PARTY: The area and the rail road museum were excellent. The idea, that 12 restaurants and 9 wine yards were giving their products, was good and it was working. Only that portions were too small so you had to go back and this caused long queues. The band was playing quite loud (for old people) but good rockâ€™n roll music.
CLOSING: The program plan changed during last days and finally it was not a real closing ceremony with a good program and entertainment. Unfortunately delay at the medal awarding caused also delay in the closing ceremony.
Brian Keaveney of Canada, WMA VP for nonstadia events, added:
The 10 and 20 Race walks were held in a park several kilometres away on a good looped course. The venue was fine but the planning on the part of the LOC was lacking. There were too few international race walk judges. A minimum of three judges from three countries must put in a request for disqualification before an athlete can be removed from the course. This made disqualification difficult in many races. Future LOC must realize the integrity of the event is jeopardized when they will not pay to get international judges.
The WMA General Assembly at Porto Alegre will meet Oct. 23 and also consider a new constitution and elect new officers, with Stan Perkins challenged only by Rex Harvey for president â€” a re-run of the Lahti race that Perkins won by a single vote. But the WMA prez elected at Porto Alegre will serve only three years instead of the usual four because of the change to even-numbered year world outdoor meets starting with Perth in 2016. (Lyon in 2015 also will have a world meet. The change to even-numbered years is to keep from butting against the World Masters Games in odd-numbered years.)
These are the candidates for various offices in Porto Alegre:
Stan Perkins, AUS
Rex Harvey, USA
Vesa Lappalainen, FIN
Margit Jungmann, GER
Friedel Schunk, USA
Serge Beckers, BEL
Michael Serrelta, PUR
Maurice Doogan GBR/NI
Leone Giacommi, ITA
RenÃ© Hondelink, NED
Winston Thomas GBR/NI
Marilyn Mitchell, USA
Jean Thomas, FRA
Selma Turkkal, TUR
Marilyn Mitchell, USA