...and there HE was at breakfast ! UP-DATE !
SAFELY ARRIVED !
Having flown in yesterday, there he was having his breakfast today, and happy to shake hands and receive our greetings ! Lamine Diack will attend (and inspire ?) the Oceania AA Congress this week. Hopefully he will also understand a little more of the problems of the small island nations by the time he leaves. The fact that IAAF Headquarters in Monaco has had the temporary assistance of our current Area Representative, Bill Bailey, will have been an extra persuader (if it was needed) to attract "the Boss": to the Antipodes !
HIGH-POWERED DELEGATION !
In addition to the IAAF President, his Secretary Pierre Weiss is here, and also Elio Locatelli (from Coaching Development), and Jee Isram (from Member Services). It is to be hoped that there will be time (between meetings and formalities) to chat informally about some of the unfortunate presumptions made by Headquarters, e.g. about ease (?) of communication, huge cost of travel, cultural priorities in each island nation, the difficulty in targeting an Olympic "B" standard as a short-term aim, etc.
ACCESSING the 2007 GRANT ?
Having completed and submitted our ARF by Feb. 5th., we are anxious to access the funds for 2007. Another of our hopes, while the IAAF group is here, is to encourage them to make funds available as soon as all the conditions for "being in good standing at that time" are satisfied.
Now it is Saturday (Feb. 17) and Lamine and Jee and Pierre have gone ! Last night, the (IAAF) President hosted a very informal dinner. Great food and drink were augmented by a song-and-dance floor show, some of the "entertainers" being members of the audience ! Various gifts were also presented to the IAAF staff members, including decorative clothing and a didgeridoo !
In conversation we found that our IAAF 2007 Grant HAS been approved ! Also Lamine made it clear that he was promoting DEVOLUTION to the MFs of many of the functions of IAAF branches. This will of course result in more autonomy, but will there be accountability to match ? It was also to be a policy of the Member Services Department to make the MFs more responsible for their own Coach Development in terms of handling the new stages of CECS, i.e. they would find suitable people to present the new Level 1 and Level 2 scheme. The old Level 1 is now Level 3; Level 2 has become Level 4; and the Academy courses are now rated as Level 5 ! Exactly what that will mean in Oceania has not yet been made clear. The Academy courses are still being clarified - and it is unfortunate that it was apparently not possible to delay the implementation of all three streams of Academy qualification until all were ready. In Oceania this has meant that the twelve people who took the first IAAF Academy course (for "Chief Coach") in January 2006 have been told RETROSPECTIVELY that they are not eligible for any other Level 5 courses !! The majority of those, if they had been given full information before the 2006 course, would probably have opted to wait until the Elite course was organised.
But then they might have been wrong ! According to Elio, it is possible to coach athletes up to Olympic level even as a Level 4 coach. Thus it would seem desirable in the majority of the small island nations, to have a variety of (four or five) specialising Level 4 coaches rather than having one specialising Elite coach !
...and about MENTORING.
Apart from the need to increase the involvement of women as coaches and administrators in the Oceania countries, there has been some interest shown in the concept of "mentoring". The idea of a less-experienced coach attaching themselves to a willing mentor seems a great idea from the point-of-view of the continuing education of the former and the possibility of enhanced respect and gratification for the latter. The costs and other logistics of how this might happen in Oceania are still being discussed. In the long term, the best solution surely is to have at least one respected older coach in each MF to whom younger, less-experienced coaches can refer if they wish. Currently it seems that all (?) the proposed mentors will be from Australia or NZ. Such "aid-dependence" cannot be good in the longer term.
In fact the idea of making MFs more self-reliant was a theme of Steve Hollings' presentation about the HPTC. His message was that there should be a "High Performance Training Programme" in each country, thus doing him (and the HPTC) out of job !